New suspect emerges in bomb case

New suspect emerges in bomb case

CCTV 'ties Mieraili to blast scene'

Flight risk: Police escort bombing suspect Adem Karadak to Min Buri Court on Saturday. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)
Flight risk: Police escort bombing suspect Adem Karadak to Min Buri Court on Saturday. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)

Police are seeking the arrest of another suspect in the Erawan Shrine bombing, as CCTV evidence purportedly paints a clearer picture of the events leading up to the explosion.

Police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said officers would issue an identikit sketch and seek a warrant tomorrow for the new suspect. He said the man is a foreign national, but declined to reveal his nationality.

The new suspect is believed to have stayed in the same rented room as Adem Karadak, also known as Bilal Mohammed, who was arrested last Saturday at the Pool Anant apartment in Nong Chok district.

The Min Buri Court yesterday approved a request for police to detain Mr Karadak for 12 more days. Police had opposed bail, saying the case against Mr Karadak carries a severe penalty and that he posed a flight risk. The suspect is being remanded at Min Buri prison.

A suspect can be detained for up to seven 12-day periods, or 84 days in total, before formal charges must be laid.

A police source yesterday told Bangkok Post Sunday Mr Karadak had denied involvement in the Erawan and Sathon pier blasts, but said the bomb-making materials found in his rented room had been taken there by other suspects in the case.

DNA samples collected from Mr Karadak failed to match evidence found at the bombing scene, but police still believe he had a role in plotting the attack. The source said Mr Karadak had told investigators he only knew some of the suspects wanted by authorities, and denied knowing the man wearing a yellow T-shirt who was seen leaving a backpack at the Erawan Shrine shortly before the blast.

The sketch of the new suspect is based on information provided by Mr Karadak, the source added.

The announcement of the new suspect brings the total number of persons of interest in the case to 11, nine of whom remain at large.

The only other suspect to have been arrested is Yusufu Mieraili, a 25-year-old Chinese national detained in Sa Kaeo province on Sept 1.

DNA testing also failed to link Mr Mieraili to the blast scene, but his fingerprints matched those collected from a container of explosive material found at the Pool Anant apartments, according to police.

Mr Mieraili allegedly admitted that he was near the Ratchaprasong area when the bomb exploded on Aug 17, but has denied being the bomber.

A separate police source said CCTV footage had shown Mr Mieraili purchasing unspecified chemicals from shops in Min Buri on July 21 and Aug 12. The source added the suspect also purchased materials online which can be used to manufacture explosives. Pol Lt Gen Prawut revealed yesterday that Mr Mieraili was a chemical engineering graduate from a well-known university in China.

Mr Mieraili was also allegedly captured on CCTV at the scene of the bombing on Aug 17 — the date of the blast — with the yellow-shirted man who police believe placed the explosives, the source said. Police believe Mr Mieraili detonated the bomb before escaping in a taxi, the source said.

CCTV footage also showed several of the suspects in the case had travelled to the Pratunam area on Aug 14 to "survey" the bomb site, he added.

The source did not offer further details on the CCTV footage, which has not been publicly released.

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