BANGKOK – Thai police yesterday arrested a foreigner suspected of being involved in the two bomb attacks in Bangkok last week.
In a televised announcement, police spokesman Police Lieutenant General Prawuth Thavornsiri confirmed the arrest of the 28-year-old man but declined to disclose the suspect’s nationality.
He said the man was picked up at a four-storey apartment block at Soi Chueam Samphan 11 in Nong Chok district of Bangkok about 2pm Saturday afternoon.
Initial investigations revealed the arrest was linked to the two bomb attacks in Bangkok, near the Erawan Shrine at Ratchaprasong intersection in central Bangkok and Sathorn pier at the Chao Phraya river.
Prawuth said the Thai police believed the suspect was in the same group of people involved in the bombings.
Thai police previously stated that at least 10 people could have been involved in the bomb attacks.
Prawuth also showed evidence found at the suspect’s rented room such as bomb making materials and several passports, but he did not reveal which countries had issued the passports.
According to the police investigation officer who declined to be named, the suspect used Turkish passport to rent five rooms at the apartment complex, but did not state whether the passport was genuine of fake.
No one was injured at the bomb blast near the Sathorn Pier, a favourite place where many tourists take river transportation on the Chao Phraya river to go to some attractions in Bangkok.
The blast at the Erawan Shrine was deadly, with 20 people killed, including five Malaysians, and another 130 injured.
As of today, 34 people are still hospitalised, including six at an intensive care unit.
Thai police chief General Somyot Pumpanmuang this afternoon said the suspect had been handed over to the military for further investigation.
However, Somyot who has interrogated the suspect declined to elaborate.
His media briefing was cut short when a local reporter asked him in Thai whether the suspect nabbed by the police was merely a scapegoat.
Somyot reacted in anger and questioned whether the male reporter was Thai.
“Are you Thai? Your question is really not constructive, go away, I could tell you that I don’t care about you. The people are in such good spirits at the moment (over the suspect’s arrest) but you asked whether (we) arrested the scapegoat!,” he said.
Later, Somyot said the suspect was not a transnational terrorist but committed it out of anger over something that happened to his friends.
On Aug 27, the Turkish Embassy in Thailand issued a statement expressing deep regret over speculative analyses and news reports trying to link Turkish citizens to the Erawan Shrine bomb attack.