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‘Big network’ behind Bangkok shrine bombing


Bangkok-shrine-bombingAT LEAST 10 people may have been involved in the deadly bombing at a Bangkok shrine, but the attack is unlikely to be linked to international terrorist groups, Thai authorities say.

Police have singled out one main suspect in the blast, describing him as an unidentified foreigner who was caught on surveillance video hiding a backpack under a bench at the shrine minutes before the bomb detonated.

They are also looking for two other men spotted in footage from the scene that they say could have been working with the chief suspect.

Royal Thai Police Commissioner Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung said yesterday he believes “several teams” were involved in the preparation and execution of the attack, which killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 120. “This operation was carried out by a big network,” he said. “There must be a preparation for materials and explosives,” Somyot explained.

There must be people who scout the route. There must be people who survey the site, people who would cover and look after the bomber. There must be people who know escape route and take the bomber to do it.

Even though police say at least one foreigner may have been involved in the attack, the operation is unlikely to be linked to international terrorism, Col. Winthai Suvaree, a spokesman for Thailand’s ruling military junta said yesterday.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the bombing. Thai authorities haven’t said what they think the motive for it might have been, other than making vague references to unspecified people or groups who want to hurt Thailand’s tourism industry and economy.

Thai security forces are sharing information with Interpol, the global police organization, and with intelligence agencies from allied countries, officials said. At this point, they don’t know if the main suspect is still in Thailand, said police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri.

He said investigators are reviewing surveillance video from Bangkok’s two international airports, as well as from the scene of the bombing.

Police have released a sketch of the suspect, showing a dark-haired man with glasses and light facial hair. They have also offered a reward of 1 million Thai baht ($28,000) for information leading to his arrest.

A Thai motorbike taxi driver who believes he picked up the suspect shortly after the blast said he did not seem to be Thai.

Driver Kasem Pooksuwan told CNN the man didn’t speak to him at all but showed him a piece of paper with the name of a central city park written in English. He spoke an unfamiliar language on his cell phone during the short ride, he said. “When I dropped him, he still appeared very calm, just like (a) normal customer.

He seemed not in a hurry at all,” Kasem told CNN. Police say they have questioned the motorcycle taxi driver but haven’t provided details of what he told them.

Two men identified as suspects in the Bangkok bombing have handed themselves in to police, insisting they are tour guides, authorities say. The pair were seen in security camera footage shortly before Monday’s blast at the Erawan Shrine.

The men, in red and white T-shirts, rose from a bench shortly before the main suspect, in yellow, sat down and left behind his backpack The attack at the shrine killed 20 people and injured dozens.

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