Prime suspect arrested, but where, when? (Updated)
published : 2 Sep 2015 at 07:43
updated: 2 Sep 2015 at 17:03
writer: Terry Fredrickson
Police have arrested a foreign man described by authorities as the prime suspect in the bombing of the Erawan shrine. But inconsistencies emerged Tuesday over the location of the suspect's arrest. Today, Thai officials insist it was in Thailand.
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Note: Wassayos Ngamkham is a Bangkok Post reporter who specialises in crime stories. Hopefully he will have answers to questions raised in this story later today. You can expect several updates today.
From left, counter-clockwise: The bombing suspect arrested Tuesday, the Erawan shrine bomber's identikit image, and the bomber caught on video. Authorities say the arrested man may be the prime bombing suspect in the yellow T-shirt. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says to wait until evidence is fully evaluated. (Photos courtesy of Royal Thai Police, Government House)
The official version of where the arrest of the latest suspect took place puts the location in the Thai province of Sa Kaeo, near the border with Cambodia. This comes from police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri and numerous other sources. Channel 7, reporting from the border area, interviewed a police team who confirmed the arrest definitely took place in Thailand. There have also been denials from Cambodian police and provincial officials that the suspect was in Cambodia when he was apprehended. Still, some people are not giving up on the theory that Cambodian authorities made the initial arrest.
As for developments in the investigation, National Police Chief Somyot Pumpanmuang says the man arrested was definitely involved in the Erawan bomb plot, but it is too soon to say if he was the man in the yellow shirt. He also would not say where the man was from, saying it was too early.
Supporting the contention that the arrested man was involved in the bombing, Pol. Gen Prayut said fingerprints taken from him match those found on a container of bomb-making material found in the Nong Chok apartment where the first arrest was made.
From a quick look at the Thai media this morning, there seems to be the same confusion as to the location of the arrest of the prime suspect. Some outlets, like Thai Rath, say it happened in Thailand near the border with Cambodia, others, like Matichon, say the arrest actually took place in Cambodia. National police chief Somyot Poompanmoung is scheduled to hold a press conference shortly, so we should learn more then.
Confusion over arrest location
Police have arrested a foreign man described by authorities as the prime suspect in the bombing of the Erawan shrine that killed 20 people and injured 130.
But inconsistencies emerged Tuesday over the location of the suspect's arrest.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the suspect was apprehended while trying to cross the border into Cambodia at Ban Pa Rai in Aranyaprathet district in Sa Kaeo province.
Maj Gen Srisak Poonprasit, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division as well as head of the Burapha task force, said police and soldiers patrolling in Aranyaprathet Tuesday spotted the man about 500 metres from the Thai-Cambodian border.
He said the man was carrying a backpack, wearing black glasses and a cap and was walking through a forest near Ban Dong Ngu village in tambon Pa Rai en route to Cambodia.
A search of his bag found some clothes including a pair of shorts resembling those worn by the man in a yellow T-shirt who was earlier caught on CCTV camera footage allegedly planting a backpack at the Erawan shrine with a bomb inside.
But police officials in Bangkok and Phnom Penh said the suspect was arrested in Phnom Penh about two days ago.
A member of the police investigation team told the Bangkok Post the suspect was apprehended at Pochengtong International Airport as he was about to board a flight to Turkey.
The suspect was brought to the Cambodian border town of Poipet in Banteay Meanchey province, opposite Sa Kaeo's Aranyaprathet district, to be handed over to Thai authorities on Tuesday.
He was held for questioning at a military ranger base near the Aranyaprathet border checkpoint before being flown by helicopter to Bangkok for further questioning.
Thai police said the suspect left Thailand via the Aranyaprathet border checkpoint through Poipet for Phnom Penh on Aug 21.
A high-ranking Cambodian police officer told the Phnom Penh Post the man was arrested after Thai officials tipped off their Cambodian counterparts he had fled to Cambodia.
He was transferred into Thai custody via the Poipet border, the Cambodian officer confirmed. "Thailand gave us a tip about this suspect," the high-ranking officer told the Phnom Penh Post.
"They requested our cooperation to arrest him."
A Cambodian police spokesman denied this on Tuesday. "No, we don't have this man in Cambodia," Kirt Chantharith said, responding to the claim. "Cambodian forces have been monitoring the case but we have no idea about such a suspect."
Maj Gen Srisak also denied that the suspect was detained by Cambodian officials and handed over to Thai authorities, insisting that the arrest was carried out in Thailand.
The Cambodian police official told the Phnom Penh Post, however, the arrest and handover had been kept secret because the suspect was "wanted by China". He did not say whether the man was an ethnic Uighur, a Muslim minority group, some of whom are considered terrorists by Beijing for their separatist activities in western China.
A photo of a passport claimed to be held by the suspect went viral on the internet. It was a Chinese passport belonging to a man identified as Yusufu Mieraili, 25, from the region of Xinjiang.
This image of a passport said to be held by the latest detained suspect has gone viral. However, police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said police are checking to find out if it is the actual passport of the suspect.
Xinjiang is home to China's Uighur Muslim minority.
However, Gen Prayut said the man's nationality has yet to be confirmed.
Police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri, however, said the photo was not released by Thai authorities but police are checking to see if it is of the prime suspect.
Pol Lt Gen Prawut said the man arrested resembles the suspect wearing the yellow T-shirt who allegedly planted the shrine bomb.
He said police believe the man is a key suspect and part of the network behind the Erawan and Sathon pier explosions.
"Based on examination of the evidence, we can confirm the male suspect we arrested is an important one and is in the same group as the other suspects in the bombings at the two locations," Pol Lt Gen Prawut said.
However, he declined to say whether the suspect was the man in the yellow T-shirt at the Erawan shrine.
Pol Lt Gen Prawut said the suspect was being held without charge under Section 44 of the interim constitution.
A DNA check and other forensics tests will be carried out to establish any links between the suspect and the deadly shrine attack.
"We need all witnesses to identify him and to perform further tests related to existing evidence, such as fingerprints, DNA and photographs," Pol Lt Gen Prawut added.
Meanwhile, the Min Buri Court on Tuesday approved a police request for arrest warrants for three more suspects in connection with the Erawan shrine and Sathon pier explosions.
The three were charged with illegally possessing explosive materials. The first two men were identified as Ali Jolan and Ahmet Bozoglan and are thought to be Turkish.
The third suspect's name was not released.
Four arrest warrants were previously issued for three foreign men and a 27-year-old Thai Muslim woman, Wanna Suansan from Phangnga.
You can read our previous coverage here:
Learn from listening
- allegedly: claimed to have done something wrong, but not yet proven - ที่กล่าวหา
- apprehended (verb): caught; arrested; caught by the police - ถูกจับ, โดนจับกุม
- arrest: (of the police) taking someone to a police station because they are believed to have committed a crime - การจับกุม
- arrest warrant: a document signed by a judge allowing police to arrest someone - หมายจับ
- arrested: caught by the police and taken to a police station because you are believed to have committed a crime - ถูกจับกุม
- authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
- backpack: a large bag, often supported on a light metal frame, carried on the back and used especially by people who go climbing or walking - เป้สะพายหลัง, กระเป๋าสะพายหลัง
- base: a place where an army, a navy, etc. operates from - ฐานทัพ, ฐานที่มั่น
- board: to get onto a ship, aircraft, train, or bus - ขึ้น(เรือ รถเมล์ รถไฟ เครื่องบิน)
- border: the official line separating two areas, regions or countries - เขตแดน อาณาเขต
- CCTV: a television system that works within a limited area, for example a public building, to observe what is happening there and often to protect it from crime - โทรทัศน์วงจรปิด (ซีซีทีวี)
- charge: to accuse someone officially of committing a crime - ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา
- charge : an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime - ข้อกล่าวหา
- checkpoint: a place where people have to stop so their vehicles and documents can be checked - ด่านตรวจ
- claim (noun): saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
- commander: the head of an army or army unit - ผู้บังคับบัญชา
- confusion: a feeling that you do not understand something or cannot decide what to do - ความสับสน
- constitution: the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by - รัฐธรรมนูญ
- contention: a belief or an opinion that you express, especially in an argument - ความคิดเห็นในการโต้แย้ง
- cooperation: working together to achieve a result that will benefit all sides - ความร่วมมือ, การทำงานร่วมกัน
- counter-clockwise (adv): in the opposite direction to the movement of the hands of a clock - ทวนเข็มนาฬิกา, เวียนซ้าย
- counterpart (noun): someone who has the same job or purpose as another person, but in a different country, time, situation or organisation - คนที่อยู่ในตำแหน่งเดียวกันของอีกประเทศ หรือ กลุ่มหนึ่ง
- courtesy of: with the official permission of somebody/something and as a favour -
- custody: the state of being in prison or under police control, especially while waiting for trial - การกักขัง, การคุมขัง
- deadly (adj): causing or likely to cause death - เป็นอันตรายถึงตายได้
- decline: to say politely that you will not accept something or do something - ปฏิเสธ
- definitely: certain; having no doubts about something - อย่างแน่นอน
- denial: a statement that something is not true or did not happen - คำแถลงการณ์ปฏิเสธ
- denied (verb): said that something is not true or did not happen - ปฏิเสธ
- detained: kept in a place and not allowed to leave - กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง
- development: a new event or stage that is likely to affect what happens in a continuing situation - ความคืบหน้า
- emerge: to appear - ปรากฏออกมา
- establish: to determine; to discover something by examining evidence to or calculate something - กำหนด, ระบุ, แสดงผล
- ethnic: of a group of people with the same culture or traditions - กลุ่มชาติพันธุ์
- evaluate: to form an opinion of the amount, value or quality of something after thinking about it carefully - ประเมินผล, ประเมินค่า
- evidence: facts statements or objects that help to prove whether or not someone has committed a crime - หลักฐาน
- existing (adj): present now; in use now; used now - ที่มีอยู่
- fingerprint: a mark that you leave on something when you touch it, showing the pattern of lines on the skin of your fingers - รอยนิ้วมือ
- fled (past of flee): escaped; left an area very quickly because of a danger there - หนีไป
- footage: film or video of a particular subject or event - ฟิลม์หรือคลิปภาพยนตร์ หรือวิดีโอ
- forensics: scientific methods used to solve crimes and find out who committed them - นิติวิทยาศาสตร์
- high-ranking: senior; important - ที่มียศสูง, ที่อยู่ชั้นสูง
- identified (verb): named, searched for a discovered - ระบุ
- identikit (noun): a set of drawings of different features that can be put together to form the face of a person, especially somebody wanted by the police, using descriptions given by people who saw the person; a picture made in this way -
- illegally: in a way that is against the law - อย่างผิดกฎหมาย
- in connection with: relating to something - ที่เกี่ยวข้องกับ
- inconsistency: something that does not match something else - ปมคดี หรือ ความไม่ต่อเนื่องบางประการ
- infantry: soldiers who fight on foot, not on horses or in tanks or other vehicles - ทหารราบ
- initial: early; first - เบื้องต้น
- injure: to hurt or cause physical harm to a person or animal - ทำให้บาดเจ็บ, ทำร้าย
- insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
- interim: temporary and intended to be used or accepted until something permanent exists - ชั่วคราว
- investigation: the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something - การสอบสวน
- issue: to officially announce or give out - ออก, ออกประกาศ, ออกคำสั่ง
- key: very important - ที่สำคัญ
- links: connections - ความเชื่อมโยงกัน
- location: where someone or something is - ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล
- male: being a man or a boy - ผู้ชาย
- meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
- minority: of a part of a population that is different in race, religion or culture form most of the population - ชนกลุ่มน้อย
- monitor: keep track of - ตรวจ, ติดตาม, เฝ้าสังเกต
- nab: to catch or arrest a criminal - จับ
- nationality: the official right to belong to a particular country - สัญชาติ,เชื้อชาติ, ชนชาติ
- network: a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย
- numerous: many - มากมาย
- opposite: across from or facing someone or something - ที่อยู่ตรงกันข้าม
- outlet (noun): a business broadcasting the content of a particular producer - ช่อง
- patrol: to move regularly around a place in order to prevent trouble or crime - ลาดตระเวน
- pier: a platform sticking out into water which people walk along or use when getting onto or off boats - ท่าเรือชนิดยื่นออกไปในน้ำ, สะพานที่ยื่นออกไปในน้ำ
- plant: (of an explosive) to hide in a place where it can be exploded - ฝัง
- plot: a secret plan to do something bad - แผนการลับ
- possess: to have or own something - ครอบครอง, ถือครอง
- press conference: an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it - การแถลงข่าว
- previously: before -
- prime: main or most important - ที่สำคัญที่สุด
- rangers: soldiers who are specially trained to make surprise attacks on an enemy - ทหารเฉพาะกิจสำหรับสงครามกองโจรหรือการจู่โจมอย่างกะทันหัน
- release: making known to the public - การเปิดเผย, การปล่อย
- resemble (verb): to be like or look like someone or something else - มีลักษณะคล้ายกับ
- search (noun): looking somewhere or through something carefully in order to find something - การค้นหา
- secret: things that you do not tell other people - ความลับ
- separatist: of a group of people who are trying to gain independence for the area they live in - ผู้สนับสนุนการแบ่งแยก
- shrine: a place for worship which is holy because of a connection with a holy person or object - สถานที่บูชา
- sketch: a simple picture that is drawn quickly and does not have many details - ภาพร่าง
- source: someone who gives information - แหล่งข่าว
- spokesman: a person who speaks on behalf of a group or an organization - โฆษก
- spotted (verb): seen; saw or noticed - สังเกตเห็น
- suspect: a person who is thought to have committed a crime - ผู้ต้องสงสัย
- task force: a group of people who are brought together to do a particular job, or a large military group who have a military aim to achieve - คณะทำงานเฉพาะกิจ, กองกำลังเฉพาะกิจ
- terrorist: of someone who uses violence in order to achieve political aims - ผู้ก่อการร้าย
- tip: secret information that somebody gives, for example to the police, to tell them about an illegal activity that has happened or is going to happen - ข้อมูล
- tip off: to tell someone in advance about something that is going to happen or about something that is supposed to be secret - เตือน, บอกให้รู้ล่วงหน้า
- transfer: to move from one person/thing to another - ส่งผ่าน, ถ่ายทอด
- via: through - ผ่าน (ช่องทาง)
- viral: (of a video, photo, story, etc.) spread across the internet very quickly (like a virus spreading a disease) as people share it with their friends or the news media reports on it - แพร่กระจายผ่านทางอินเทอร์เน็ตอย่างรวดเร็ว
- witness: a person who sees something happen or knows about something - ผู้ที่เห็นเหตุการณ์, พยาน