Thailand seeks help from Interpol to hunt blast suspect

Thailand’s military government seeks to cooperate with Interpol to hunt down main suspect of deadly blast

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The man who is the main suspect of the Bangkok explosion according to Thai police

Thai military government asked the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) for help on Thursday in hunting down the suspects involved in the Bangkok blast, which hit one of the most important tourist attractions of the country, Erawan shrine, killing 20 and injuring scores.

Initially the government was unwilling to ask for any help from international organizations over the revelation of the attack, but rising pressure from the public pushed them to seek outside help.

“We sent a request for assistance,” Kissana Phathancharoen, deputy national police spokesman said.   

Kissana also said that the decision for cooperation with Interpol was given regardless of the any specific region or country.   

Thai police have been tracking a young man since his appearance on a surveillance video wearing a yellow t-shirt, youthful shaggy dark hair and glasses. In the video, the suspect came to the blast scene with a backpack and left it behind as he was walking away and looking at his mobile phone at the same time.

Earlier on Wednesday, following the opening ceremony of the Erawan shrine, Thai officials released a detailed sketch of him. They also put out one million baht ($39,540) award for leading information to hunting down the suspect.

"We basically sent in the modus operandi [of the suspect] and also the appearance of the suspect we're looking for," Kissana said.

A senior police officer, Somyot Poompanmoung claimed that the attacker wasn't alone as he was carrying out the attack, saying that there are at least 10 other suspects involved.  

"He didn't do it alone, for sure. It's a network," said Poompanmoung, adding that "it is a big network. There was preparation using many people."

Following the revelation for the new estimation for the attack, Thai junta spokesman, Colonel Winthai Suvaree added that the bomb attack at the Buddhist shrine was “unlikely” to be the work of an international terrorist groups, referring to Chinese tourists who lost their lives in the attack.

He said that the assailants did not target the Chinese directly at the shrine, which is a known popular touristic destination among them.   

"Security agencies have cooperated with agencies from allied countries and have come to the preliminary conclusion that the incident is unlikely to be linked to international terrorism." he said.

BBC reported on Thursday, two new suspects were identified after they were seen on the surveillance footage of the Erawan Shrine.

Thai officials are now questioning two men who were wearing red and white t-shirts, that rose from a bench shortly before the main suspect with the yellow t-shirt sat down on the same bench and left his backpack behind.

TRTWorld and agencies