Duo go on trial for shrine bomb­ing

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TWO Chi­nese na­tion­als will go on trial this week for their al­leged roles in a deadly bomb­ing at a shrine in Bangkok one year ago, an at­tack whose mo­tive re­mains clouded in mys­tery fol­low­ing a murky and at times sur­real in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The trial, which starts to­mor­row, is be­ing held at a mil­i­tary court and is ex­pected to last more than a year.

The bomb­ing was the worst as­sault of its kind in Thai­land’s re­cent his­tory.

But one year later, more than a dozen key sus­pects named dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­main at large, while an­a­lysts say Thai au­thor­i­ties have yet to of­fer a con­vinc­ing mo­tive.

The small but pow­er­ful bomb packed with ball bear­ings killed 20 peo­ple and wounded more than 100 when it ripped through Erawan shrine in the heart of the Bangkok shop­ping district on Au­gust 17, 2015.

The Hindu shrine is pop­u­lar among eth­nic Chi­nese vis­i­tors, who made up a ma­jor­ity of the dead with five from Malaysia, five from China and two from Hong Kong.

Two mem­bers of China’s Mus­lim mi­nor­ity Uighur pop­u­la­tion – Yusufu Mieraili and Bi­lal Mo­hammed – have been charged with in­volve­ment.

An­a­lysts have largely co­a­lesced around the the­ory that the bomb­ing was in re­venge for the Thai junta’s forcible re­turn of 109 Uighurs to

China weeks ear­lier.

But Thai au­thor­i­ties have said the two in­ci­dents are un­re­lated and in­sist the bomb­ing was car­ried out by a peo­ple-smug­gling gang an­gered by re­cent polic­ing suc­cesses against hu­man traf­fick­ing. –

Wor­ship­pers at the Erawan Shrine, a pop­u­lar tourist land­mark in Bangkok. Two Chi­nese na­tion­als will go on trial this week for their al­leged roles in a deadly bomb­ing at the shrine more than a year ago.

Photo: AFP

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