Latest arrest over deadly Aug 17 blast came in province bordering Cambodia; police probe possible Turkish link
Police hunting those responsible for Thailand’s deadliest bombing arrested a second foreign suspect on Tuesday, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said.
The Aug 17 attack on a Bangkok Hindu shrine killed 20 people and injured more than 100. Fourteen foreigners were among those killed in a blast the military government said was aimed at dealing a blow to an already ailing economy.
The suspect was arrested in Sa Kaeo province, on the border with Cambodia east of Bangkok.
“We have arrested one more, he is not a Thai,” Prayuth told reporters after a weekly Cabinet meeting. He did not elaborate.
The suspect has been taken to Bangkok for questioning, police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri said, adding the nationality of the suspect has yet to be determined.
TV footage of the suspect showed a thin man in a baseball cap and sunglasses and with a short mustache.
The arrest came after security forces detained another foreign suspect in weekend raids on the outskirts of Bangkok, in which they also found explosives.
Police said they had transferred 22 officers from their posts for negligence. The transfers came just a day after the police chief promised a reward to investigators for making the first arrest. Six of the 22 were immigration officers from Sa Kaeo, while the others worked in the Bangkok districts where the security forces conducted the weekend raids.
Thai police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang said he transferred the immigration officers because foreigners had been able to enter Thailand illegally in Sa Kaeo.
“That was my decision,” he said. “I think that when a foreigner is able to illegally enter Thailand without proper scrutiny. … I think those officers should be transferred.”
Police have been criticized for an erratic investigation, which had made little progress until the weekend. Police issued arrest warrants for a Thai woman and a foreign man on Monday.
The woman, Wanna Suansuant, has contacted authorities and will meet with police, Somyot said on Tuesday. He gave no details.
Her family told police on Monday she had traveled to Turkey to work with her partner and child two to three months ago.
Police have been looking into a possible Turkish connection. Fake Turkish passports were seized and police requested a Turkish translator to assist in questioning the man they arrested on Saturday
Reuters – Xinhua
(China Daily 09/02/2015 page11)