Islamic State likely to target Southeast Asia in coming months, analysts say

Terrorist group could carry out Paris-style attack in tourist hotspot or at a key infrastructure point such as an airport, they warn

Indicators show terrorists are likely to strike Southeast Asia’s tourist attractions this summer, security experts have warned.

Recent developments concerning Islamic State (IS) across Asia suggest the group have recruited locally and were likely to carry out a major strike, according to Alex Bomberg, group chief of Intelligent Protection International, part of Intelligent (UK Holdings).

IS had developed localised organisations and operations in Southeast Asia and was active in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh. In addition, fighters recruited from Asia to fight in Syria and Iraq were starting to return home, as the extremists’ war in the Middle East was facing defeat.

“I think they are ready to do something in Asia. I think it’s going to happen very soon,” Bomberg said.

Last week the United States warned of possible summer terrorist attacks in Europe, saying targets could include the European soccer championship in France or the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day events, based on an accumulation of information.

Raffaello Pantucci, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute in London, said he wouldn’t be surprised “if we saw an attack somewhere in Southeast Asia that is seen as being inspired, linked or maybe even directed by IS”.

Bomberg said an attack would likely target tourist hotspots and be paired with a strike on infrastructure such as a subway or airport.

To maximise damage and casualties, IS had adopted an “active shooter” tactic, where multiple gunmen simultaneously open fire with automatic weapons and quickly move from one location to the next, as was seen in Paris in November, he said.

“They are not going to waste opportunities,” he said. “They are going to want it to be spectacular.”

His company, which provides protection services to British royals and high net worth individuals, urged Asian countries to improve information sharing and be more open with the public.

If there were an attack in Hong Kong, it would be a “strike at the heart of the dragon”, according to Bomberg.

But given a lack of support for terrorist groups in the financial city, Hong Kong was at less of an immediate risk than were Indonesia, Malaysia or the Philippines, said Pantucci.

Li Lifan, a researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said airports authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing were effective in using biometric information shared by the international community to screen out dangerous people upon entry.

Mainland China had also become vigilant and awareness about terrorism in the country was high, Li said.

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 June, 2016, 4:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 June, 2016, 8:27pm
By Liu Zhen


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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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