Shrine bomber is part of a ‘network’; arrest warrant for him
An arrest warrant has been issued against a man suspected of planting a deadly bomb in the Erawan shrine in Bangkok Monday, police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri said.
The warrant, approved by the South Criminal Court following a request by the Royal Thai police, was issued based on an identikit sketch of him composed from images captured by the CCTV camera installed at the shrine.
The bespectacled man, who seen on CCTV footage wearing a yellow T-shirt and carrying a backpack, faces bombing and murder charges.
Prawut said it is possible he disguised his appearance before the bombing. He might just be a local using a “fake nose” as a disguise.
Immigration authorities at all airports have been provided with the sketch to help them catch the suspect if he tries to sneak out.
A BBC report says there are indications the main suspect was driven to the airport after the attack and he may have flown out of the country.
Thai police have offered a reward of 1 million baht ($28,000) for information leading to his capture.
Police Chief Somyot Pumpanmuang said the suspected bomber is part of a wider “network”.
“I believe there is more than one person behind this. There is a network,” he said.
“A foreigner couldn’t commit this act alone. There has to be Thai people helping this guy commit the act,” he said.
“The perpetrators shared the job, ranging from staking out the targeted area, mapping an escape route and assembling the explosives,” he said, adding that he thinks the bomb was assembled in Thailand.
Somyot also said he believes the suspect is likely to have been in Thailand for at least three years, as he knew the area well.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said the suspect should report himself to the authorities in the interest of his own safety. “I am concerned that he could be silenced,” he said.
While police appeared to be clueless about the suspected bomber’s nationality and name, two motorcycle taxi drivers claimed to have picked up the key suspect, with one saying he picked the man up often in the morning.
Nikom Pantula, a motorcycle taxi driver at Sathorn Soi 10, identified the suspect from the TV grab of the CCTV footage, saying the young man frequently used his service to go to Asoke intersection at about 5.30am. He usually appeared to be in a hurry and spoke both Thai and English.
“He always had a black cloth around his arms and wore black glasses,” he said.
Another motorcycle taxi driver, Kasem Puksuwan, 45, believes he gave a ride to the suspect after the man left the shrine Monday. He met the police and told them about the route the suspect took. He said he had dropped the man off at Lumpini Park.
“We have drawn the sketch of this suspect based on pictures we retrieved from security cameras and the description given by a witness,” Prawut said.