Cops ‘know’ who is behind bombings
THAI police investigating a wave of bombings that rocked tourist destinations and killed four people said yesterday they know who was behind the attacks.
Police said two men have been held for questioning over the blasts in Hua Hin – a resort town struck by four of the bombs – with a third arrested over a suspected arson attack in Nakhon Si Thammarat province.
No one has claimed responsibility for at least 11 small explosives and series of suspected arson attacks that ripped across core tourist hubs the night of August 11 and the morning of August 12.
The bombs, most of them detonated in twin blasts, struck holiday resorts during a long weekend, including the seaside town of Hua Hin and the island of Phuket.
“Our investigation is progressing. We know who was behind it,” deputy police spokesperson Piyapan Pingmuang said.
“We believe [the bombers] are still in Thailand. All the incidents, bombs and arson attacks, were connected ... We will talk about the motive later.”
He repeated the military government’s stance that a domestic group was behind the attacks but refused to provide further details.
“It was an act of local sabotage, not terrorism. We do not have terrorism in Thailand,” he said.
The authorities have not provided a possible motive behind the assault, but officials have been quick to downplay speculation that it was the work of Muslim rebels fighting a long-running insurgency against state troops further south.
The conflict zone – the only Muslimmajority area in Buddhist Thailand – sees regular bombings and shootings, but the violence rarely leaks outside the three provinces bordering Malaysia.
The recent blasts came as an affront to a junta that prides itself on bringing a measure of stability to Thailand since its 2014 power grab.
The kingdom has weathered a decade of political turmoil amid a bitter power struggle.
The conflict broadly pits ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his rural supporters in the north against a Bangkok-based elite that backed his ouster in 2006 and the recent coup that toppled his sister’s administration.
The blasts came only days after the junta won a referendum vote on a new charter it drafted.