Bomb suspects 'sought revenge' against military

Bomb suspects 'sought revenge' against military

Government spokeswoman disputes claims and says investigations are continuing

Damage caused by a firebomb at Pratunam Market on Friday. (Photo by Pawat Laopaisarntaksin)
Damage caused by a firebomb at Pratunam Market on Friday. (Photo by Pawat Laopaisarntaksin)

Two southern men arrested in connection with a bomb found at Royal Thai Police headquarters claim they and eight accomplices wanted to create chaos in Bangkok in revenge for military operations in the Deep South, according to a security agency source.

But the government spokeswoman on Saturday categorically denied the suspects’ reported confessions, saying police were still investigating.

The two men, both from Ruesor district of Narathiwat, were caught on an interprovincial bus at the Pathomporn checkpoint in Chumphon province on Friday. A security camera had captured images of a man dropping a suspicious object near the fence outside RTP headquarters on Rama I Road on Thursday evening.

Bomb disposal officers examined the object, which contained two cylinder-shaped boxes stuffed with electrical circuit boards. There was no explosive.

The pair later broke their silence and confessed, Thai media reported on Saturday, quoting a source at a security agency.

The source said the pair colluded with eight accomplices in planning the attacks across the capital. They placed bombs and other suspicious objects at various places to show military authorities that they could create unrest anywhere even at important government venues.

The suspects reportedly claimed they were motivated to avenge the death of a suspect detained by the Fourth Army Region at a military camp in the South.

But government spokeswoman Naruemon Piyosinwat dismissed the claims as untrue.

“The reports are inaccurate. Investigators have yet to conclude [a motive]. They are investigating. After this, I will explain this issue in detail,” Post Today quoted her as saying.

Seven bombs were reported in five locations in Bangkok and Nonthaburi on Friday, with five of them going off, hurting four people. The incidents occurred while he capital was hosting a high-profile gathering of foreign ministers from Asean and 21 other countries, including the US, China and Russia.

The blasts included one at the Chong Nonsi BTS station, one nearby at the King Power MahaNakhon tower, two at the Government Complex on Chaeng Watthana Road, and at the Royal Thai Armed Forces headquarters.

Another incident in Rama IX Soi 57, in which two female street cleaners were injured, was not related. It reportedly involved students who claimed they were making weapons for self-defence. Police seized a homemade bomb, pen gun and knives from the suspects, aged 15, 17 and 19.

Bangkok police said on Saturday that 10 attacks in total took place the previous day but caused no serious injuries or damage. The bombs were either found or went off at the following locations:

  • At a shop on the first floor of Siam Square One (firebomb using power banks and alcohol);

  • In front of Royal Thai Police headquarters (improvised explosive device or IED);

  • Building B1, Government complex, on Chaeng Watthana Road (IED);

  • Exit of Building B1, Government Complex (IED);

  • In front of Royal Thai Armed Forces headquarters on Chaeng Watthana Road (IED);

  • Near Royal Thai Armed Forces headquarters (IED);

  • Pratunam Market (firebomb);

  • King Power MahaNakhon parking lot (IED);

  • In front of King Power MahaNakhon (IED); and

  • At the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence in Pak Kret, Nonthaburi province (IED)

Police say the bombers worked as a team and had planned the attacks in advance. They believe the attacks were aimed at creating confusion. Police are now checking camera footage at these locations and will hold another briefing to provide more details on Monday.

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