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Few Clues as Thai Police Bungle Search for Bangkok Bomber



People ride their motorcycles past a digital billboard showing a sketch of the main suspect in Monday's attack on Erawan shrine, in Bangkok

People ride their motorcycles past a digital billboard showing a sketch of the main suspect in Monday’s attack on Erawan shrine, in Bangkok



BANGKOK – Metropolitan Police Chief Lieutenant-General Srivara Ransibrahmanakult has told reporters that the investigation is being hampered by broken security cameras as police trying the retrace bomber’s movements “have to use imagination”

Gen Somyot Pumpunmuang, the police chief, said that investigators trying to retrace the suspect’s getaway route had to “use their imagination” at times when surveillance camera footage was missing or blurry.

“Sometimes there are 20 cameras on the street but only five work,” he said on Monday. “We have to waste time putting the dots together.

“The footage jumps around from one camera to another, and for the missing parts police have to use their imagination,” he told the Associated Press. “Have you seen CSI?” We don’t have that.”

Thailand’s police force and its military-led government are facing criticism for a lack of progress, misplaced priorities and for issuing contradictory information.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Gen Prayuth had also sent mixed messages when he rejected offers of assistance from Britain and the US. He initially insisted that the country’s police did not need outside help, but later said that the Thailand would accept facial recognition technology from America.

Officials, speaking to reporters, have acknowledged they are uncertain whether the alleged bomber, tracked on closed circuit television cameras, was a Thai or a foreigner.

A better identification of the suspect was hampered by broken CCTV cameras in central Bangkok along the main suspect’s escape route, national police Chief General Somyot Poompunmuang said Monday.

“We’ve had to waste time to put the dots together” because only about one-fourth of the cameras were functional, Somyot told reporters.

Authorities have contradicted themselves on whether or not the prime suspect was still likely in Thailand.

A British and a Thai newspaper have reported that motorcycle and tuk-tuk taxi drivers matched a customer with a copy of a passport photo they were shown for a “Mohamad Museyin.”

Khaosod newspaper reported the passport appeared to be a fake Turkish document.

That has led to speculation the attack was revenge for Thailand’s deportation early last month of more than 100 ethnic Uighurs to China.

Police now say they do not have the desired sophisticated equipment and that “cooperation” from foreign countries would be welcome.

Other counties “use biometrics systems, which consist of fingerprints, facial and iris recognition, which Thailand doesn’t have at the moment,” Somyot said Monday.

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