Thai Police Seek Thai Woman and Foreigner in Blast Case, while Awarding themselves 3 Million Baht
BANGKOK – National police spokesman Prawuth Thavornsiri has reported that the Thai court has issued two new arrest warrants and released images Monday of more suspects, a Thai woman and a foreign man of unknown nationality, in the widening investigation into Bangkok’s deadly bombing two weeks ago.
During a televised statement, police broadcast a photograph of the woman’s Thai identification card showing a young woman in a black headscarf and a sketch of the man whose nationality was unknown.
The development came after police arrested a man from an apartment in Bangkok’s outskirts on Saturday and seized bomb-making equipment that included detonators, ball bearings and a metal pipe believed to be a bomb casing.
More bomb-making materials were discovered in a second apartment during a raid Sunday in a nearby neighborhood, Prawuth Thavornsiri said Monday. He said the second apartment, in a neighborhood known as Min Buri, was rented by the Thai woman identified as Wanna Suansun and 26 years old.
Prawuth described what police found as “important bomb-making materials such as gunpowder, urea-based fertilizer which can be used as explosive powder when mixed with other substances, a remote-controlled car with its controller which can be used as a detonator, nuts and bolts, small light bulbs and digital watches,” among other things.
The man, whose face is shown in a police sketch with short brown hair and a light beard and mustache, is believed to have lived in the apartment, said Prawuth, adding that his nationality was not known.
Saturday’s arrest marked the first possible breakthrough in the investigation into the Aug. 17 blast at the Erawan Shrine, which killed 20 people, more than half of whom were foreigners, and injured more than 120 others.
Much remains unknown about the suspect, including his nationality, his motive, his relationship to the alleged bombing network or if he was plotting an attack, Prawuth said, adding that another attack was “possible” because police found 10 detonators.
“We still have to work out the details,” he said. “But we are very certain he’s part of the network” that carried out the bombing.
On Sunday, Prawuth said police were working with “a number of embassies” and interpreters to try to establish the man’s nationality, adding that he did not speak Thai but spoke some English.
Authorities have dodged questions about whether the suspect is believed to be Turkish, saying that he was traveling on a fake passport. Images circulated online after his arrest of a fake Turkish passport with the apparent suspect’s picture.
The Turkish Embassy in Bangkok could not immediately be reached for comment. A Turkish government spokesman contacted over the weekend in Istanbul said he had no information on the suspect or any possible Turkish link to the attack.
No one has claimed responsibility for the blast, sparking a variety of theories into who might be behind it.
Meanwhile, National police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said Monday Thai police have awarded themselves a 3 million baht, or $84,000, reward offered to the public for tips leading to the arrest of suspects in Bangkok’s deadly bombing after a man was arrested over the weekend in an apartment containing bomb-making equipment.
National police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said that he was taking the unusual step of giving the reward to the police force both to motivate his officers and to show that Thailand’s police are good at their job.
“This money should be given to officials who did their job,” he said at a news conference as aides brought out stacks of 1,000 baht notes.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the money would be distributed to police officers.
By Suzan Fraser, Nattasuda Anusondisai and Grant Peck, The Associated Press
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