Thai ad­min­is­tra­tion broad­cast un­re­lated sui­cide vest pic­ture

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Thai­land’s junta came un­der scru­tiny Sun­day af­ter an un­re­lated pic­ture of a sui­cide vest was broad­cast dur­ing a na­tion­ally tele­vised ad­dress an­nounc­ing the ar­rest of a for­eign man in con­nec­tion with last week’s deadly Bangkok shrine bomb­ing.

Of­fi­cials later said the vest was not among the items found at the sus­pect’s flat, warn­ing peo­ple not to share the shot online whilst a junta spokesman Sun­day ac­cused broad­cast media of in­sert­ing the er­ro­neous pic­ture.

The po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the bomb at­tack has re­ceived crit­i­cism over how quickly in­ves­ti­ga­tors searched and cleared up the blast site, as well as con­fus­ing and some­times con­tra­dic­tory state­ments from se­nior of­fi­cers and junta of­fi­cials.

Po­lice on Satur­day charged a for­eign man af­ter a raid on an apart­ment in Bangkok’s eastern out­skirts. In­ves­ti­ga­tors say the man was found with bomb-mak­ing equip­ment linked to the Aug. 17 blast, which killed 20 peo­ple and wounded scores more.

When Thai­land’s junta broad­cast an ad­dress all free TV chan­nels must run it.

The broad­cast at 6 p.m. (1100 GMT) on Satur­day fea­tured a spokesman from the Royal Thai Po­lice and a spokesman for the Na­tional Coun­cil for Peace and Or­der — the of­fi­cial name for the junta.

As junta of­fi­cial Col. Winthai Su­va­ree spoke, im­ages from in­side the sus­pect’s flat flashed up on the screen in­clud­ing pic­tures of the man sur­rounded by of­fi­cers, a close por­trait of the man and items laid out on a rug.

Another pic­ture was then briefly broad­cast show­ing a vest cov­ered in bulging pock­ets con­nected by wires, held up by a hand wear­ing a blue sur­gi­cal glove. Winthai did not talk about or make ref­er­ence to the pic­tures.

The pic­ture of the vest was widely shared on so­cial media, but late Satur­day po­lice took to Twit­ter to say the photo was not from the flat.

“The pic­ture has noth­ing to do with the bomb­ing. It is not of­fi­cial,” po­lice wrote on their Twit­ter ac­count @Po­liceSpokes­men.

“We would like to ask peo­ple who pub­lished that pic­ture to stop their ac­tions be­cause it might bring con­cern to so­ci­ety and it could be in breach of com­puter leg­is­la­tion,” they added in another tweet.

On Sun­day morn­ing Col. Winthai blamed Thai broad­cast­ers, in­sist­ing the junta had only pro­vided four pic­tures for the joint ad­dress to the na­tion.

“Be­sides those four pic­tures the media has in­serted their pic­tures,” he said.

The pho­to­graph of the vest orig­i­nates with the United States’ Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion (TSA) — the agency in charge of air­port se­cu­rity.

They pub­lish an of­fi­cial blog which each week de­tails un­usual items dis­cov­ered at se­cu­rity check­points.

In a March 2013 en­try the TSA said an “ex­plo­sives in­struc­tor” tried to carry “a vest that ap­peared to be a sui­cide vest” in a checked bag at In­di­anapo­lis air­port.

The vest was “in­ert” but nonethe­less caught the at­ten­tion of the author­i­ties with the pho­to­graph placed on their web­site.

The pho­to­graph has since been syn­di­cated by media or­ga­ni­za­tions and used to il­lus­trate sto­ries about sui­cide bomb­ings around the world with the TSA cred­ited as the orig­i­nal source for the shot.

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