Bangkok Bombing Suspects Arrested in Malaysia

Hata Wahari

2015-09-14
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150914_TH_BOMBFOLO_620.jpg Suspect Yusufu Mieraili (in yellow shirt) points toward the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, as he enacts for Thai police a scene from alleged events leading up to the bombing of the Hindu site, Sept. 9, 2015.
AFP

Police in Malaysia have arrested two Malaysians and a Pakistani as part of an investigation into the deadly Aug. 17 bombing in Bangkok, broadening the probe’s international footprint.

The three were arrested after entering Malaysia last week, on suspicion of terrorist-related activities under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act of 2012 (SOSMA), Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar told a news conference Monday.

He would not say how they entered Malaysia or where they were arrested – only that closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance played a role.

"The three were identified through the sharing of information between the Royal Malaysia Police and the Thai Police,” he said.

“However, we will not hand over the suspects to Thailand as of yet, because we need to do further investigations in order to determine the authenticity of information on whether the main suspect is in our country and if there is a possible terror network,” Khalid added.

The arrests bring to five the number of people taken into custody thus far in connection with the Bangkok bombing. In Thailand, two foreign male suspects have been arrested and charged with possession of explosives.

One of the Malaysian suspects is a woman, police said. And, in a Sunday raid on a dormitory in Bangkok’s Din Daeng district, authorities took three other women in for questioning as part of the probe, the Bangkok Post reported.

Last week, Thai police said that one of the suspects, identified as Yusufu Mieraili (pictured), had confessed to delivering a backpack bomb to a man in a yellow shirt, who was filmed planting the device at the Erawan Shrine moments before the blast.

The attack on the Hindu shrine killed 20 people and injured another 120 during the evening rush-hour at Bangkok’s busy Rajaprasong intersection.

Bangladesh connection

Also on Monday, Thai police told reporters that the suspected mastermind of the blast – whom they have named as Chinese passport holder Abu Dustar Abdulrahman, or “Izan” – was now in Turkey.

Thai police had earlier said that they believed Izan had fled to China on the eve of the attack. But a Bangladeshi official on Monday confirmed to BenarNews that he had landed in Dhaka on Aug. 16 and exited the country two weeks later.

“Based on information from the immigration authorities, the suspect came to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on a Bangladesh Biman airlines flight from Bangkok on Aug. 16 at 11 a.m.,” Bangladeshi Assistant Inspector General of Police Nazrul Islam told BenarNews.

“The Chinese passport holder left Dhaka on a Jet Airways flight at around 10 a.m. His boarding pass said his final destination was Beijing,” the Bangladeshi official added, specifying Aug. 30 as a departure date but declining to comment further.

"He departed Dhaka on Aug. 30 for Delhi by Jet Airways," the Associated Press quoted Thai National Police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri as saying Monday.

"From Delhi, he continued his travel to Abu Dhabi, and from Abu Dhabi he traveled on Aug. 31 to Istanbul. This is his final destination. It's clear."

A senior Turkish government official denied this.

"There is no record of the suspect having entered Turkey," the official told the AP on condition of anonymity. "Nor have the Thai authorities informed us that a terrorism suspect was traveling to Turkey."

No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing – Thailand’s deadliest terrorist attack – and Thai authorities have yet to reveal a motive.

Shahriar Sharif contributed to this report.

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