BANGKOK – National police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri has told reporters that the South Bangkok Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for an unnamed suspect in a riverside blast that occurred a day after the bombing of a shrine in central Bangkok that killed 20 people.
Police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri said the suspect appeared in a security video that shows a blurry image of an unidentified man in a blue shirt kicking a bag into the water near a busy pier on the night of Aug. 17, soon after the explosion at the Erawan Shrine.
The warrant issued by the South Bangkok Criminal Court says the suspect faces three charges including attempted premeditated murder, exploding a bomb that could cause harm and unauthorized possession of explosives, Prawut said. It does not specify the suspect’s name or nationality.
Prawut Thavornsiri told reporters police had checked arrivals of Turkish nationals who entered Thailand around two weeks before the blast.
“There are probably more Turkish coming into Thailand than that. We investigated groups which may have come into the country,” said Prawut, in response to whether police had investigated 15 Turkish nationals.
“We checked, but not 15 people,” Prawut said, adding that police have not ruled out any group or nationality.
“We are not focused on the nationality but the individual,” he said, without giving further details.
The main evidence police have for the blast at the Hindu Erawan Shrine popular with Asian tourists is security camera footage.
The footage shows a man with a yellow shirt and dark hair removing a backpack after entering the shrine and walking away from the scene before the explosion.
Anthony Davis, a Bangkok-based security analyst with IHS-Jane’s, speaking at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand on Monday, told Reuters, there were three “likely groupings” which have the motive and the capability to pull off the attack.
The most likely perpetrators of the bombing were militant members of a right-wing Turkish organization called the Grey Wolves, a pan-Turkic, extreme right-wing organisation, he said.
Davis said their motive may have been revenge for Thailand’s deportation of ethnic Uighurs to China.
Police have not definitively linked the two blasts according to their public statements. An arrest warrant was issued last week for a suspect in the deadly explosion at the shrine, also without a name or nationality. No arrests have been made in either case.