The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Thais de­tain bomb sus­pect


BANGKOK: Thai po­lice last night de­tained a for­eign man with a fake Turk­ish pass­port who they say is “likely in­volved” with a bomb at­tack in Bangkok last week.

Author­i­ties made the ar­rest af­ter raid­ing an apart­ment in sub­ur­ban Bangkok where they found bomb-mak­ing ma­te­ri­als, the first pos­si­ble break­through in the deadly shrine bomb­ing on Au­gust 17.

“He is most likely re­lated to the bomb­ing,” deputy po­lice chief Chak­thip Chai­jinda said of the sus­pect.

“We found bomb ma­te­ri­als in his apart­ment.”

The blast at the Erawan Shrine in one of Bangkok’s most up­scale shop­ping dis­tricts left 20 peo­ple dead, in­clud­ing sev­eral for­eign­ers, and more than 120 peo­ple in­jured.

Author­i­ties have called it the most deadly at­tack in Thai­land’s mod­ern history.

Na­tional po­lice spokesman Prawut Tha­worn­siri said author­i­ties had not yet de­ter­mined the man’s na­tion­al­ity, dis­miss­ing re­ports by lo­cal news or­gan­i­sa­tions that he is Turk­ish. Im­ages of the pass­port were posted on so­cial media.

“The pass­port you see is fake,” Mr Prawut said. “We don’t know if he is Turk­ish or not.”

How­ever, a se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cer later claimed the sus- pect was in fact a Turk­ish na­tional who car­ried mul­ti­ple pass­ports.

“He car­ries many pass­ports. It’s un­usual how he car­ries so many pass­ports,” Colonel Ban­phot Phun­phien said.

Po­lice had been search­ing for a prime sus­pect, de­scribed as a for­eign man, who was videoed wear­ing a yel­low T-shirt and leav­ing a bag at the shrine mo­ments be­fore the blast recorded by se­cu­rity cam­eras.

Mr Prawut said the “clothes and bomb-mak­ing ma­te­ri­als” found in the de­tained man’s room were linked to the shrine at­tack as well as to a sec­ond blast last Tues­day near a pop­u­lar tourist pier which caused no ca­su­al­ties.

“The ball bear­ing is the same size” as those found at the two blast sites, he said.

The at­tack on the Hindu shrine dealt a blow to the king­dom’s rep­u­ta­tion as a wel­com­ing and safe travel des­ti­na­tion.

The ma­jor­ity of those killed were eth­nic Chi­nese wor­ship­pers who flock to the shrine in the belief that prayers there bring good for­tune.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors have said the at­tack was clearly aimed at dam­ag­ing the tourism in­dus­try but in­sist that Chi­nese tourists – who visit Thai­land in larger num­bers than any other na­tion­al­ity – were not sin­gled out.

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