24 officials transferred from posts following Bangkok attack

24 officials transferred over misconduct in investigation of bombing of Bangkok shrine earlier this month

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Eighteen police officers transferred to inactive posts

Eighteen police officers in Bangkok and six immigration officials in the northeast of Thailand were transferred to inactive posts due to alleged misconduct related to the bombing of the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok on Aug. 17.

The 18 police officers were sent to inactive posts for falsely stating that they were sure where bomb materials and a suspect were found, which was later discovered to be false. Another reason for transferring the officers to inactive posts was that they did not follow instructions from police central command such as carrying out investigations of property and suspicious foreigners.

The deputy commander of Bangkok’s Division 3 command, the superintendent of Min Buri police station and the superintendent of Nong Chok police station were among the eighteen officers who were transferred. Ten of them have been ordered to report to Bangkok police headquarters and await further investigation, Thai police reported.

Six immigration police officers in Sa Kaeo Province were transferred to inactive posts in the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok.

According to police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang, the reason for the transfers was that the officers had neglected their responsibilities and allowed illegal foreign laborers to enter Thailand from Aranyaprathet checkpoint, across the border from Poipet, Cambodia.

In related news, the Thai Rath newspaper reported this morning that a foreign man was arrested on Saturday in Bangkok for illegally entering Thailand by bribing Sa Kaeo immigration police. The claim was under investigation, Somyot said.

The Bangkok blast occurred on Aug. 17 and killed 20 people.

The identity and nationality of the first unnamed suspect became a matter of controversy shortly after his arrest as one of the passports found in his apartment indicated he was a Turkish citizen.

Later a Thai National Police Spokesman confirmed that the document was fake and they do not know the man’s nationality.

“The passport you see is fake,” said Prawut, “We don’t know if he is Turkish or not.”

Turkey’s Bangkok Embassy also told local authorities in Thailand that the suspect is not a Turkish citizen.

After the man’s arrest Thailand’s Nation TV on Saturday aired an image of a suicide vest allegedly belonging to the accused Bangkok Erawan Shrine bomber.

The image later proved to be fake as it was taken from US Transport Security Administration’s official blog on March 8, 2013.

Thai Police wrote on their official Twitter account that footage of the vest circulating on social media was not related to the bombing.

"These images were not involved in the bombing, and are not from the Thai government," the tweet said.

The TV station has drawn criticism from social media users for airing the images.

Thai authorities have drawn criticism as the investigation into the bombing has failed to produce any concrete results so far and inconsistencies in the evidence have undermined its reliability.

TRTWorld and agencies