The arrested man has been named as 63-year-old Jyrki Uhanivrmo after airport police quickly identified his mobile phone from records and waited to arrest him today as he boarded his outbound flight. Officers are now considering ordering a mental health evaluation of the suspect.
A Finnish tourist was arrested on Friday afternoon as he was departing Thailand at Don Mueang Airport for Vietnam after police identified him as the prank caller who on Wednesday had caused panic among security officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport after phoning in a warning of a potential terrorist incident.
A 63-year-old Finn was arrested by a team dispatched to Don Mueang Airport on Friday afternoon after he checked in for an Air Asia flight heading for Da Nang Airport in Vietnam.
It is understood the arrest was in connection with a mysterious phone call made by the man to authorities at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Wednesday, New Year’s Day, warning of an ‘untoward’ incident at the airport.
The calls provoked a flurry of activity and panic and led to an investigation led by Police Colonel Natthaphon Komintharachart, a police superintendent at Thailand’s main international airport.
Airport Police and Immigration Bureau involved
Police units including officers from Provincial Police Division 1 and Thailand’s Immigration Bureau were involved in the investigation and operation which led to the Finnish national being identified and detained. The call made from a mobile phone was received by a call centre in Suvarnabhumi.
Mobile phone seized by arrest team at Don Mueang
Police seized the same phone on Friday as evidence. It had been quickly identified by investigating officers following the call and identified as registered to the Finn.
The man has been named as Jyrki Uhanivrmo who on Friday was booked on Air Asia flight FD636 to Vietnam. He was arrested by a team led by Police Colonel Natthaphon at the outbound immigration counter at Don Mueang Airport.
Concern for the Finn’s mental health
On Friday, Police Lieutenant General Amphol Buarabporn, the commander of Provincial Police Region 1, told the media that authorities since the arrest have become concerned for the mental health of the Scandinavian man who has denied that he made the call to deliberately cause panic at the airport or that his action was ill-intentioned.
Finn claims he was helping to bolster security at the international airport which he claimed is flawed
The Finn is claiming that on entering Thailand at Suvarnabhumi Airport, he observed that the security system at the airport was less than thorough. ‘He noticed the airport’s security system was faulty and vulnerable to a terrorist attack, so he made the call to warn the authorities,’ Lieutenant General Amphol revealed.
Call was more threatening say police
However, Thai police are claiming that the phone call received was more threatening than that and appeared to be designed to provoke panic and fear. This is quite a serious offence under the Thai Air Navigation Act which governs all matter to do with civil aviation in Thailand.
Faces 5 to 15 years in prison
If convicted of the appropriate offence under the law, the Finn faces 5 to 15 years in prison or alternatively a fine of ฿200,000 to ฿600,000. He could also have both sanctions imposed by the courts. Legal proceedings against the man are being considered and he is currently being held in police custody.
Lieutenant General Amphol has told the media that the rambling nature of the Finnish man’s responses to police questioning after his arrest has led them to consider ordering a mental health evaluation of the suspect under Thailand’s mental health laws.
Mr Uhanivrmo entered Thailand nine times
The Head of Immigration Lieutenant General Sompong Chingduang has confirmed to the media that immigration records show the Finish national had entered Thailand and departed the country a total of nine times.