Thailand Pursuing Two More Suspects in Bangkok Bombing

Pimuk Rakkanam

2015-08-31
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150831-TH-bomb-620 Thai National Police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri holds up a tablet with a picture of Wanna Suansan, a suspect in the Aug. 17 bombing of Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine, Aug. 31, 2015.
AFP

Authorities in Thailand issued arrest warrants Monday for two additional suspects in the deadly bombing of a Hindu shrine in Bangkok on Aug. 17, including a Thai woman.

Police were searching for an unnamed foreign man and a Thai national identified as 26-year-old Wanna Suansun, National Police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri announced on national television. He displayed a photo of the woman, and a sketch of a man with a thin mustache.

Twenty people were killed and as many as 125 injured in the attack on the Erawan Shrine, a religious site in Bangkok’s Rajaprasong district that is popular with tourists from China and other Asian countries.

A joint police and military search on Sunday of an apartment in Min Buri, a northeastern district in Bangkok, led to the discovery of explosives and other materials that could be used to build bombs, Prawut said. These included black powder, Urea fertilizer, remote-controlled triggering devices, bolts and nuts, light bulbs and wristwatches.

Information that led to the raid came from the interogation of a foreign suspect who was taken into custody Saturday in connection with the bombing, Prawut said.

“At the time of search, the tenant was not there and the man residing in the apartment, as per the sketch, was not there,” he said.

“The tenant’s name is Wanna Suansun, aged 26, and the person who eventually resided there is a foreign man who looked like [the person] in the sketch.”

In Turkey?


According to news reports, the woman’s relatives told police she had left the country months ago and was now living in Turkey.

“They said Wanna lives in Turkey with her Turkish partner and her child. She has not contacted them for a while,” Reuters quoted Taracha Thompat, deputy police chief for Phangna province, as saying.

Col. Winthai Suwaree, the spokesman for the National Council of Peace and Order (NCPO) – the official name for the Thai junta – joined the police spokesman during the broadcast.

“Officials involved in the case confirmed that they have not ruled out any possible causes, and they will wait until information compiled from witnesses, physical evidence and forensic examination results are complete,” Winthai said.

Meanwhile, at the NCPO’s situation monitoring center in Bangkok, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters that the first suspect in custody was “certainly not a scapegoat.”

“The arrest was a result of security personnel’s investigation based on witnesses and evidence,” he said.

Turkey: Ready to help

The first suspect was identified as a 28-year-old foreigner.

He was arrested after authorities raided his apartment in Nongjok district, a Bangkok suburb, and allegedly found bomb-making components as well as a stash of passports from a foreign country.

A counterfeit Turkish passport bearing the suspect’s photograph and identifying him as Adem Karadag was seized from him, officials said.

After his arrest, the Turkish embassy in Bangkok issued a statement in which it reiterated its “solidarity with Thailand.”

“Turkey stands strongly against all kinds of terrorist acts, regardless of its source, origin and motive. Turkey continues to fight against terrorism,” the statement said.

“Concerning the speculative news reports linking Turkish citizens to the Erawan Shrine bomb attack, Turkey has already conveyed its stand against terrorism to the Royal Thai Embassy in Ankara and expressed its readiness to cooperate with Thai authorities, if they have any concrete information as to these speculations,” the embassy added.

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