Thai students detained in Pakistan have no Islamic State links: government

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 12, 2015 12:30 AM

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Five Thai students detained in Pakistan for trying to board a plane with a pistol and ammunition have no links to the Islamic State militant group or any criminal organization, a Thai government spokesman said on Friday.

The men, who had been studying at a religious school in Pakistan, were trying to catch a flight on Monday night when they were intercepted.

"We have no evidence that there are any links at all between the students and any criminal organization, so news that there is a link between ISIS and the students is not true," Major General Sansern Kaewkamnerd, a deputy government spokesman, told Reuters.

On Friday, Thai newspaper the Bangkok Post reported that two of the five were suspected of having links to Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS. The report cited intelligence sources.

Officials from Thailand's embassy in Islamabad had visited the students and an investigation by embassy officials was underway, Sansern said.

An investigation into the students' families found no links with violence in Thailand's southern region, where there has been a long-running Muslim separatist insurgency, Army Chief Udomdej Sitabutr told reporters on Friday.

Some of the detained men are from Thailand's south.

The students are in detention in Lahore, according to Thailand's foreign ministry.

(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Simon Webb and Paul Tait)