Police have identified a suspect in Monday’s bomb blast at Bangkok’s famous Erawan Shrine that killed at least 20 people, mostly Asian tourists, and injured 125. The unprecedented attack that “left body parts strewn across crushed pavement” has been described as the “worst ever attack” on the kingdom.
Police have today released CCTV footage showing a young foreign-looking man wearing a yellow T-shirt and carrying a backpack walking near the shrine shortly before the explosion.
In the footage, the man is seen sitting on a bench inside the shrine compound for a few seconds and dumping the backpack under the bench. As he stands up and leaves the scene he appears to be dialing a number on his mobile phone. He was reportedly seen arriving at the shrine on a tuktuk and leaving the area by motorcycle taxi.
According to the Bangkok Post, the national police chief would “not confirm whether the man was thought to be a Thai or a foreigner.”
It is not clear either if authorities have any more reason than the man’s suspicious behaviour and the backpack he dropped at the scene to believe he was involved in the bombing. No political or terrorist group, foreign or domestic, has claimed responsibility for the attack yet and the motives remain unknown.
According to latest reports, the death toll stands at 20 now, 12 of whom were killed immediately while six more died at hospital.
At least nine of the casualties were foreign nationals, four of them Malaysians, two Hong Kong nationals, one Chinese, one Indonesian and one Singaporean.
Three of the seven bodies that have not been identified yet are also believed to be foreigners. One of them, The Nation reports, “could not be identified even by sex, as the body is beyond recognition.”
Of the 125 people injured in the blast, at least 38 are foreign nationals, mostly Chinese. The nationalities of 44 of the injured are not known yet. Some are severely injured, so the death toll may still rise.
UPDATE – According to the Bangkok Post, the national police chief Tuesday night
admitted that police briefly arrested a foreign man at Suvarnabhumi airport who appeared similar to CCTV images of the prime suspect. Immigration officials initially stopped him due to a problem with his travel documents and released him so that he could fix it. He has not been allowed to depart Thailand for the time being.
Police would not rule out he was the same man who appeared in the Erawan CCTV footage (…)