Police in Thailand have arrested a suspect in the bombing of a Bangkok shrine that killed 20 people and left many others injured. Residents might not be able to rest easily yet. The police have explained the suspect is just one man in a large network of perpetrators and the main suspect is still free.
According to Reuters, the police arrested a 28-year-old man in the Nong Chok area of Bangkok and found stacks of fake passports and bomb-making materials. The authorities believe the man was also involved in a second bombing that took place the next day.
Initially, they identified the man as a Turkish national, but as police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri explained to CNN, “At first we thought he is Turkish. But we just found out two Turkish passports he is holding are all fake.”
Thavornsiri also explained that they discovered a treasure trove of other evidence.
“We also found many empty fake passports, also various kinds of evidences.”
The man is currently being held on charges of possessing illegal explosives while the police continue to work on identifying him.
The initial bombing took place at a Hindu shrine on August 17. The blast killed 14 foreigners, seven from Hong Kong and China, along with several others. The ruling junta party insists the bombing was an orchestrated effort to cripple the Thai economy.
The police are now looking for a group with a vendetta against the Southeast Asian government.
Authorities are reportedly monitoring 1,000 mobile phones and checking the photographs in about 200 seized passports.
Thavornsiri explained, “We’re not only using information about phone usage from this man, but also usage of the group.”
In addition to not knowing the identity of the organization that conducted the attack, the main suspect is still on the loose.
The main suspect is an unidentified foreigner who appeared on surveillance footage leaving a backpack under a bench at the shrine a few minutes before the explosion.
At the time, he was wearing a yellow t-shirt and dark-framed glasses.
The main suspect may have been living with the arrested suspect. Interviews with neighbors have revealed the arrested suspect did not live alone, but with a taller, similar-looking man. The roommate has not been seen since Friday.
As for the suspect’s associates, no group has claimed responsibility for the incident. Authorities have also largely ruled out international terrorist organizations.
Bangkok police have focused their speculation on Malay insurgents, sympathizers of Uighur Muslims (the government just forced 100 members of the group back to China), and opponents of the military government.
[Photo by Nicolas Axelrod/Getty Images]