There is mounting evidence that the second suspect in the Erawan shrine bomb blast who was taken into Thai custody on Tuesday was directly involved in the bomb blast. The yet unidentified foreign man suspected of being a Chinese Uighur however denies he is the bomber.
Forensic tests have confirmed that fingerprints taken of the suspect matched those found on a container used for explosives that was collected during a raid on a rented room on the eastern outskirts of Bangkok.
The first foreign suspect, who has not yet been identified either and whose nationality remains a mystery, was arrested at the apartment on Saturday. It is now believed that the second suspect nabbed at the Cambodian border on Tuesday also stayed at the apartment.
He has also confessed during interrogation to being at the bomb scene “at the time of the explosion” but denies he had planted the bomb at the Erawan shrine.
The powerful explosive device is believed to have been hidden in a backpack dumped under a bench at the shrine by a young foreign man wearing a yellow T-shirt shortly before the detonation. Police believe the second suspect is that man and are seeking more witnesses.
The suspect’s identity and nationality has not been confirmed yet by authorities. Although he reportedly carried a passport which identified him as a 26-year-old ethnic Uighur from Xinjiang province in China, the document’s authenticity has neither been confirmed nor denied yet.
According to the deputy police chief, interrogation of the suspect also “required a Turkish translator”, however it is not known whether the language spoken by the suspect was actually Turkish or Uighur language, which is part of the wider Turkic family and spoken by ethnic Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang province.
Meanwhile, an eighth arrest warrant was issued today for the Turkish husband of a Thai Muslim woman who was identified as a suspect on Monday after police uncovered bomb-making materials in a room rented in her name. The room at a budget apartment complex in Bangkok’s eastern Minburi district was reportedly being used by members of the “network” behind the bomb attack. The woman has rejected the accusations, saying she left Thailand six weeks before the attack with her husband.
The arrest warrant for her Turkish husband, identified as Emrah Davuloglu, is the fourth warrant in the case issued for a Turkish national.
UPDATE 1 – Two days after the suspect’s apprehension at the Thai-Cambodian border, a ninth arrest warrant has been issued for Chinese passport holder Yusufu Mieraili, indicating it seems that the suspect’s identity has now been confirmed as the 25-year-old Uighur Muslim from Chinese Xinjiang province.
UPDATE 2 – The suspect is not the bomber. Forensic tests have confirmed on Friday that the man’s DNA matches neither DNA extracted from a taxi the bomber took on the day of the attack nor DNA extracted from a 20-Baht note the bomber used to pay a motorcycle taxi driver immediately after the blast. This means that the yellow-shirted man seen on CCTV dumping a rucksack at the blast location minutes before the detonation still remains at large.
Yusufu Mieraili is, however, still suspected of being involved in the attack.
UPDATE 3 – Based on a report by Matichon Online, the Bangkok Post suggests that
Mr Yusufu, a chemical engineer from a well-known university in China, might have assembled the bomb.
On Aug 17 (…) he was believed to have taken a taxi from Min Buri with the backpack containing the bomb to Hua Lamphong. There, he handed it to the yellow-shirted man who subsequently planted the device.
The report said that both men travelled separately to the shrine. The yellow-shirted man placed the bomb and Mr Yusufu was believed to have detonated it from the skywalk (…)
In the absence of more concrete evidence, this is however only speculation for now.