Police focus on 2 drivers of pickup used in car-bombing
published : 23 Nov 2022 at 17:05
NARATHIWAT: Police are focused on questioning a woman previously pulled over while driving the pickup used to car-bomb a row of police flats on Tuesday, killing one officer and injuring 45 other people, in the hope she will point them to the bomber.
Prabparn Meemongkol, deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Region 9, said on Wednesday that Fahtiya Pradu will be ordered to meet investigators.
Investigators are also examining surveillance camera recordings along the bomber's most likely escape routes.
On Tuesday, a man drove and parked the Isuzu D-Max withTrang licence plates used to bomb a two-story block of flats in the residence compound of Muang police station of Narathiwat. He left the vehicle beside the flats and departed on a motorcycle waiting outside the compound. The pickup exploded shortly afterwards.
A background check on the pickup found that Ms Fahtiya, 32, a native of Yaring district in neighbouring Pattani province, had earlier been stopped while driving the vehicle. She was cited for driving without a licence at a checkpoint in tambon Kaluwor Nua in Muang district of Narathiwat.
Pol Maj Gen Prabparn said the policeman who wrote out the ticket recalled seeing a man sitting in the passenger seat.
The deputy regional police chief did not say when the ticket was issued, but did say she had not paid the fine. When tracked down and questioned, she would be allowed to go home if investigators were satisfied she was not involved in the bombing, he said.
Army Region 4 deputy commander Pramote Prom-in said the same vehicle was seen at another checkpoint in tambon Lamphu, also in Muang district of Narathiwat, on Oct 5.
The pickup was sold by a man in Trang to a used car company in Phatthalung province in 2021, he added.
Pol Maj Gen Prabparn and Maj Gen Pramote did not say whether Ms Fahtiya was the owner of the pickup.
Pol Maj Gen Prabparn said investigators were also examining security camera footage in three districts of Narathiwat - Yi-ngo, Tak Bai and Bacho. They were likely escape routes for the bomber.
The bombing was the most serious recent attack in the restless far South. The explosion killed Pol Capt Suthirak Panthaniya and injured 45 other people - about 13 police and the rest civilians. Suthirak has been posthumously promoted to police general.
The bomb destroyed most of the buildling, which was home to 70 police families in rooms on two floors.
The families have been moved to temporary accommodation at a stadium at the provincial office of the Sports Authority of Thailand and to housing at Tanyong police station in Narathiwat.
Vehicles also damaged by the explosion were towed to Muang police station for forensic examination of the bomb debris.