The Memo: 24 Jun—30 Jun 2024

The Memo from 24 Jun—30 Jun 2024: Summary of incidents, ranging from terrorism, covert actions, organised crimes, regional conflicts to cybersecurity incidents.

The Memo: 24 Jun—30 Jun 2024

In brief:

  • Terrorist IED injured Thai security member and VBIED killed a woman in Thailand's Deep South.
  • Australian teenager charged with terrorism for targeting MP.
  • Police officer shot, attacker killed at Israeli embassy, Belgrade.
  • US military bases in Europe on high alert for terrorism.
  • Perhilitan discovered tiger skeleton; arrested six suspects in poaching gang.
  • Philippines and Australia agree to exchange intelligence for border security.
  • TNLA and junta troops clash in Myanmar, civilians killed.
  • Third cyber attack targets Indonesian Military Intelligence Agency Bais.

Terrorism and insurgency

  1. Thailand
    On 27 June, a suspected terrorist IED explosion injured a member of the security force in Narathiwat, Thailand. The blast follows recent attacks in the region, including a motorcycle bombing and a hostage situation at a power plant. Islamic separatist groups frequently target state infrastructure in Thailand's southernmost provinces due to long-standing cultural and political tensions. The conflict has caused over 7,344 deaths and 13,641 injuries since 2004. Following that, on 30 June, a suspected VBIED exploded outside a police residential complex in Yala province, killing a female teacher and injuring 21 others. The blast, attributed to separatist insurgents, caused significant damage to police housing and surrounding buildings.

    Why it matters: These incidents underscore the ongoing violence in Thailand's Deep South, where separatist attacks frequently target police and government officials. Over 22,200 incidents in the past 20 years have resulted in more than 7,540 deaths and 14,000 injuries. Despite peace talks, violence persists, affecting regional stability and national security. The repeated attacks on state infrastructure highlight the separatists' capability and resolve, posing risks to both local and foreign nationals.
  2. Australia
    Jordan Patten, 19, was charged with a terrorism offense after entering the office of Tim Crakanthorp, intending to kill him. Arrested at the Newcastle Museum with a knife, tactical gear, and live streaming equipment, Patten was denied bail and appeared via audio-visual link in court. He faces potential life imprisonment for acts preparing for a terrorist act under the Criminal Code Act 1995. The Joint Counter Terrorism Team continues its investigation, assuring no ongoing public threat. Patten had previously circulated a manifesto with extremist views, linking him to admiration for the Christchurch shooter.

    Why it matters: Patten's case underscores the persistent threat posed by ideologically-motivated violent extremism (IMVE), emphasising the complexities law enforcement encounters in thwarting such attacks. This incident not only spotlights the proliferation of extremist ideologies via digital platforms but also highlights the critical influence of mental health on radicalisation processes. This convergence of online radicalisation, mental health issues, and actionable extremism presents a multifaceted challenge for security agencies.
  3. Serbia
    An attacker shot and wounded a police officer guarding the Israeli embassy in Belgrade with a crossbow, and was subsequently killed by the officer. The incident was described as a “terrorist attack against Serbia” by Interior Minister Ivica Dacic. The police are investigating possible connections to foreign terrorist groups and have made several arrests. Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Milos Vucevic condemned the attack, promising a strong response to terrorism.
  4. Europe
    Several US military bases across Europe, including the US Army garrison in Stuttgart, Germany, raised their alert level to Force Protection Condition “Charlie” amid concerns of a terrorist attack. This status, indicating a likely terrorist action, is the highest seen in at least 10 years due to an “active-reliable threat.” The heightened security comes as European authorities warn of potential terror threats, especially ahead of the Paris Olympics and European football championships. France and Germany have bolstered security efforts with increased police presence and elevated national alert levels.

    Why it matters: The heightened alert across US military bases in Europe signifies a credible and immediate terrorist threat targeting military personnel or facilities. The Force Protection Condition “Charlie” status indicates that intelligence received suggests a likely attack. This implies specific, actionable threats rather than general concerns, necessitating significant security measures to safeguard military assets and personnel. Following Islamic State Khorasan Province's (ISKP) March attack in Moscow, European security is on vigilance. ISKP's media arm has already singled out Europe’s top sporting events as potential targets, explicitly mentioning UEFA Champions League matches in London, Madrid, and Paris.

Organised Crimes

  1. Malaysia
    Officers from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) discovered a complete tiger skeleton and bones, allegedly from an illegal poaching gang. The tiger was likely killed for its meat, with bones kept for black market sale. Six suspects were arrested in Rompin, Pahang, during 'Operasi Bersepadu Khazanah' (OBK), including three Orang Asli men and two locals suspected of arranging wildlife sales. A local man hiding tiger bones and a car used for transporting wildlife parts were also seized. The suspects face charges under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, with penalties including fines and imprisonment.

    Why it matters: The ongoing issue of illegal wildlife trade poses a significant threat to endangered species like tigers. The exploitation of local communities, such as the Orang Asli, in the illegal trade reveals the complexities of addressing such crimes, which often involve economic incentives and cultural factors. The high value of seized items, estimated at over RM228,000, illustrates the lucrative nature of the black market for wildlife parts, driving poaching activities.

Intelligence and Covert Actions

  1. The Philippines
    The Philippines' Bureau of Immigration and Australia's Department of Home Affairs signed an agreement to exchange intelligence, enhancing border security against terrorism and human smuggling. This cooperation aims to improve migration management and combat transnational crimes. The agreement, part of the Philippines-Australia Plan of Action 2023-2026, includes sharing operating procedures and transit routes. Additionally, Canada trained 36 BI personnel in impostor detection and passenger assessment.


  1. Myanmar
    The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) engaged in heavy fighting with junta troops in Myanmar's gem-rich Mogok region, resulting in civilian casualties from shelling and air strikes. The conflict shattered a China-brokered ceasefire from January. Residents reported artillery and air strikes since Tuesday, with at least four civilians killed. The TNLA's attacks extend to Shan state, where ongoing clashes have caused additional casualties.

    Why it matters: The fighting disrupts Myanmar's lucrative gem industry, known for its high-quality "pigeon's blood" rubies often smuggled into Thailand or China. Mogok's prized rubies face sourcing complications due to political conflicts and trade embargoes. Despite high demand, ethical sourcing challenges persist, empowering the Myanmar military. The recent ceasefire breach and renewed hostilities worsen humanitarian conditions, causing civilian casualties and displacement.

Cyber security and unlawful access

  1. A cyber attack on the Indonesian Military's Strategic Intelligence Agency (Bais), the third such government attack, was reported this week. The breach, allegedly executed by hacker MoonzHaxor, involved significant data from the Bais system. The same hacker is reported to have previously accessed Indonesia's Automatic Finger Identification System, selling sensitive data for $1,000 USD. Additional disruptions occurred with a ransomware attack on the National Data Center, demanding an $8 million ransom. Officials assure that compromised systems, including Polri's, are functioning smoothly despite these breaches.

    Why it matters: The suspected hacking highlight vulnerabilities in critical national security systems. Such incidents underscore the escalating threat of cyber attacks globally, emphasising the urgent need for enhanced cybersecurity protocols and robust defense mechanisms to protect national interests and maintain public safety.

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