BANGKOK – Police Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri told reporters Saturday that a foreign man held in custody for the past month is the same man seen on security-camera footage planting a bomb just minutes before it ripped through a popular Bangkok shrine last month, killing 20 people.
The man, identified as Adem Karadag but who is suspected by police to use a number of aliases, was arrested at an apartment in Bangkok’s suburbs for allegedly possessing bomb-making materials and a stack of blank Turkish passports. His nationality hasn’t been confirmed. Police Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri said that as the investigation progressed, police uncovered evidence that Mr. Karadag played a more substantial role in the attack.
“It’s confirmed,” Lt. Gen. Prawut said. “Adem is the man in the yellow shirt based on CCTV footage, eyewitness accounts and his own confession.”
Lt. Gen. Prawut said that after placing the bomb in a rucksack at the shrine, he took a motorcycle taxi to a nearby park where he changed his clothing in a restroom.
Police took the man and another suspect also arrested last month—an ethnic-Uighur from China named Yusufu Mieraili—to the site of the blast at the Erawan Shrine on Saturday afternoon. Amid tight security, the men were paraded past media and police camera teams, a customary police procedure in Thailand.
“Today, police officials are very confident that both Adem and Yusufu are the perpetrators, and that the yellow-shirted Adem planted the bomb while Yusufu triggered it,” national police chief Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung said.
Neither Mr. Karadag nor Mr. Mieraili could be reached for comment, nor could their lawyers.
The majority of those killed in the August 17 attack were foreign visitors, many of them Chinese tourists, which has prompted speculation as to the possible motives for the bombing.
Gen. Somyot this month suggested the human traffickers specializing in smuggling ethnic-Uighur Muslims from China to Turkey might have planned the bombing in response to Thailand’s efforts to crack down on trafficking in recent months. Some security analysts, however, have suggested the bombing might be linked to Thailand’s move in July to deport 109 Uighurs back to China, where human rights advocates say they face widespread discrimination and abuse.
The deportations triggered violent protests at a Thai consulate in Turkey, where nationalist groups view the Uighurs as part of a broader Turkic-speaking nation stretching across parts of Central Asia to the Xinjiang region in western China.
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