Thai­land seeks sup­port from US to find Bangkok bomber, raises re­ward


Thai­land raised a re­ward Fri­day for tips lead­ing to the ar­rest of the main sus­pect in Bangkok’s deadly bomb­ing and turned to the United States for help in track­ing down those be­hind the at­tack that left 20 peo­ple dead.

Prime Min­is­ter Prayuth Chanocha said he had re­ceived of­fers of as­sis­tance from the U.S. Em­bassy in Bangkok and had as­signed his deputy “to co­op­er­ate on bor­row­ing equip­ment that in­cludes fa­cial­recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy.”

Prayuth, how­ever, ruled out work­ing with U.S. in­ves­ti­ga­tors, in­sist­ing Thais can do the job.

“It won’t be nec­es­sary to co­op­er­ate on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion with U.S. of­fi­cers,” Prayuth told re­porters. “We need to help our­selves.”

Four days af­ter the ex­plo­sion at the revered Erawan Shrine, at one of the cap­i­tal’s busiest in­ter­sec­tions, there were few solid leads into the per­pe­tra­tors of the at­tack that also left more than 120 in­jured.

Po­lice were still search­ing Fri­day for the prime sus­pect seen in a se­cu­rity video drop­ping off a back­pack near a bench at the site about 15 min­utes be­fore the blast, a day af­ter clear­ing two other men seen in the video who were ini­tially be­lieved to be sus­pects.

Na­tional po­lice chief Somyot Poom­pan­moung told re­porters that po­lice were look­ing for a woman wear­ing a black shirt who ap- peared in the footage, seated near the sus­pect. He noted she was not con­sid­ered a sus­pect but could have valu­able wit­ness tes­ti­mony, if po­lice could find her.

“We don’t even know who she is,” Somyot said. When asked if any per­sons of in­ter­est would be called in Fri­day, he said, “No.”

Af­ter be­ing crit­i­cized for send­ing con­fus­ing mes­sages, author­i­ties ap­peared more guarded in their state­ments. Mil­i­tary spokesman Col. Winthai Su­va­ree said on tele­vi­sion that the po­lice were mak­ing “much progress” but that he could not dis­close any de­tails.

Po­lice have re­leased a sketch of the sus­pect — de­pict­ing him with eye­glasses and bushy, black hair — and of­fered a re­ward that on Fri­day was raised to 3 mil­lion baht (US$85,000), Somyot said. On a po­lice ar­rest war­rant he is de­scribed as a “for­eign man,” although a mil­i­tary spokesman said Thurs­day that a con­nec­tion to in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism seemed un­likely.

Somyot had sig­naled the need for fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy to help speed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“There are au­to­matic ma­chines that can de­tect 100 peo­ple within 5-6 sec­onds,” Somyot said Thurs­day. “Mak­ing peo­ple sit and do the job would take all day.”

The U.S. Em­bassy con­firmed that it had of­fered to help Thai author­i­ties but de­clined to give specifics, cit­ing the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.


Doves are re­leased for peace at the Erawan Shrine at Ra­jpra­song in­ter­sec­tion, the scene of Mon­day’s bomb­ing, in Bangkok, Fri­day, Aug. 21.

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