Thai police arrest suspect in Bangkok bombing – CNN

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN)Thai police have arrested a suspect in the bombing that killed 20 people and wounded scores more at a shrine in Bangkok this month, authorities said Saturday.

The suspect — a Turkish national — was arrested at an apartment in a suburb of Bangkok, police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri said.

“We believe he is the guy we have been looking for. We also found the same type of ball bearings in this man’s apartment,” he said.

Prawut told CNN that police were continuing to gather more evidence regarding explosive materials and that the suspect was still at the apartment.

A team of high ranking police officers appeared to be holding an urgent meeting near the slightly dilapidated building shortly after news of the arrest broke. Forensic experts and army personnel were also present.

The apartment is in the Nong Jok suburb, an area known to house a large Muslim community.

    The deadly explosion at Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine — a spot popular with tourists and locals — occurred on August 17.

    Authorities had narrowed the description of the main suspect to an unidentified foreigner who was caught on surveillance video hiding a backpack under a bench at the shrine minutes before the bomb detonated.

    The video footage showed a man in a yellow T-shirt and dark-framed glasses.

    At least 10 people may have taken part in the bombing, but the attack is unlikely to be linked to international terrorist groups, Thai authorities said.

    No claim of responsibility

    Bangkok blast victim: ‘I lost everything

    Police said a week ago that they no longer believed that three other people seen near the main suspect on surveillance video were involved in the attack.

    There has been no claim of responsibility for the bombing. Thai authorities haven’t said what they think the motive for it might have been, other than making vague references to unspecified people or groups who want to hurt Thailand’s tourism industry and economy.

    Thai security forces are sharing information with Interpol, the global police organization, and with intelligence agencies from allied countries, officials said.

    Royal Thai Police Commissioner Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung said last week that he believes “several teams” were involved in the preparation and execution of the attack, which killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 120.

    “This operation was carried out by a big network,” he said.

    Police offered a reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest, but it’s not clear if this was a factor in Saturday’s operation.

    Foreign visitors among blast victims

    Bangkok, which was convulsed by political unrest last year, has experienced small-scale bomb and grenade attacks in the past but nothing of the magnitude of the shrine blast. Two devices exploded at an upscale shopping mall in February but didn’t cause any casualties.

    The shrine is a major draw situated at a bustling intersection near a large shopping mall.

    At least seven people from other Asian countries were reported to be among the dead as well as one Briton. The site is popular among Buddhists as well as Hindu and Sikh members of Thailand’s Indian community.


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