Police Identify Suspect in Bangkok Bombing

By BenarNews staff

150818_TH_BOMBING_620.jpg Relatives of a bomb blast victim cry after body identification at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Bangkok, August 18, 2015.

Thai police on Tuesday released footage of a man they believe carried out the bombing of a popular Hindu shrine in central Bangkok, which Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-Cha is calling “the worst incident” of its kind in Thailand.

In grainy footage culled from a security video at the Erawan Shrine, a slender man in a yellow T-shirt sits on a bench, removes his backpack, stands, then walks away 15 seconds later without the backpack. The date stamp on the footage is 6:40 p.m. on August 17.

The explosion fifteen minutes later at the crowded shrine killed 20 people and injured 125, according to the latest figures from the Erawan Emergency Center Tuesday.

"The yellow shirt guy is not just the suspect. He is the bomber," police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri told The Associated Press.

Prime Minister Prayuth called Monday's attack at a busy intersection "the worst incident that has ever happened in Thailand."

"There have been minor bombs or just noise, but this time they aimed for innocent lives," the AP quoted him as saying. "They want to destroy our economy, our tourism."

“Today there is a suspect … we are looking for this guy,” Prayuth told reporters.

Police could not confirm the nationality of the suspect, who, to many viewers, did not appear to be Thai.

“We never mentioned yet that the suspect is a foreign national. We give weight to all possibilities. We wait until we complete collecting evidence,” national police chief Somyos Poompanmuang said.

Second scare

Still traumatized by Monday night’s carnage, Bangkok residents got a follow-on scare at midday Tuesday when someone hurled an explosive device into the Chaophrya River, near Sathorn Pier, where commuters board ferries to cross the river.

The explosion created a plume of water and sent people running, but no-one was hurt.

The device used was similar to the one used at the shrine, Prawut, the police spokesman, told reporters.

“From initial inspection it is a pipe bomb and is similar to the one last night,” he said.

Explosive ordnance disposal police and staff of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration worked at the Erawan Shrine until midday, collecting evidence and removing debris.

Pol. Col. Kamthorn Auicharoen, the EOD police officer in charge at the scene, told BenarNews he could not immediately identify the type of explosives used in Monday’s blast.

“We cannot come to a conclusion yet whether the bomb stuffed inside the pipe was TNT or Composition-4, but the weight was between 3 to 5 pounds,” he said.

More than half of the people killed were foreign nationals. According to the latest police tally cited by AFP, they included three Chinese, two Hong Kongers, an Indonesian, four Malaysians, one Singaporean and six Thais. The other three had yet to be identified.

The Malaysian victims were all members of one family – a man, his four-year-old-daughter, his brother-in-law, and his mother-in-law, according to the Malaysian Foreign Ministry.

As evening fell Tuesday, 67 bombing victims remained hospitalized, the ruling National Council for Peace and Order said. Their conditions were not made public.

“The Royal Thai Government and I wish to express our sincerest condolences to the families of the victims,” the Thai prime minister said Tuesday in a televised address.

“From this incident, it is apparent that there are active individuals or groups that harbor the intention to damage Thailand, who maybe pursuing political gain or other intentions by damaging economy and tourism. The Royal Thai Government shall expedite all investigation efforts to find perpetrators and bring them to justice” Prayuth said.

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