KOTA BARU, Malaysia - Several Thais suspected to be involved in a series of bombings in the three southern provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala were believed to be posing as tom yam restaurant workers in several states in the peninsula.
Thai authorities have identified several tom yam restaurants in Malaysia who were working in cahoots with the suspects by hiring them, most of whom hold both the Malaysian and Thai citizenships.
Thai security sources believe the restaurant owners were also giving financial help to the separatist's groups.
"Our checks show that besides working at these restaurants, the suspects are also working at construction sites. Some of them entered Malaysia legally while the rest are illegals.
"It is believed that after carrying out attacks, the suspects would run across the border to Malaysia and hide from the Thai or Malaysian authorities."
The source added that the tom yam restaurant network started in Malaysia many years ago and it had been estimated that there were about 1,000 members.
Another Thai security source said they were trying to get the co-operation of the Malaysian authorities to investigate the matter.
"It is learnt that each restaurant owner contributed RM50 per month to the network and the money is used to finance the separatist's activities," he claimed.
The source said the network played an important role as it supplied financial aid to several separatist groups.