Thais Arrest Man Selling Radioactive Material
Friday, June 13, 2003
BANGKOK, Thailand — Alerted by U.S. investigators, undercover Thai police on Friday arrested a man selling radioactive material that can be used to make a so-called dirty bomb.
Officers arrested Narong Penanam, 44, in the parking lot of a Bangkok (search) hotel after he offered to sell agents a metal container that he said contained uranium, police Col. Pisit Pisutisak said. Narong expected to be paid $240,000.
An analysis of the material by the Office of the Atomic Energy for Peace later revealed it was not uranium but cesium-137, which has a number of medical and industrial applications and can used in a bomb designed to spread radioactive material over a wide area.
Narong was charged with illegal possession of nuclear materials, punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of $240.
Pisit said Narong told authorities he got the container from neighboring Laos (search) and claimed his sources have more.
The investigation was initiated by the U.S. Customs Service, whose agents were present during the arrest, said a U.S. Embassy spokesman, on customary condition of anonymity.
A sheep with a gun, is still a sheep.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.