An arrest warrant has been issued for the man known as "Ishan", believed by police to be one of the key figures behind the deadly Erawan shrine bombing in Bangkok.
The Min Buri court on Saturday approved the warrant for Abudureheman Abudusataer, the name that appears on his Chinese passport (also spelled Abu Dustar Abdulrahman), on charges of collaborating to possess arms and explosives used in the Erawan and Sathon pier bombings.
The suspect is said to be 27 years old and from the Xinjiang region of China. He left Thailand the day before the Aug 17 bombings and is now said to be in China.
The powerful pipe-bomb explosion at the popular shrine at the Ratchaprasong intersection killed 20 people and injured more than 100.
The court approved the warrant based on closed-circuit footage and the testimony of the owner of the Maimuna Garden Home apartment building, who saw Ishan and suspect Yusufu Mieraili in a room there.
The room in Min Buri was rented in the name of Wanna Suansan, a Thai woman married to a Turkish man. Ishan was seen entering and leaving the room regularly, said Pol Col Noppasilp Poonsawat, a commender with the investigation unit of the Metropolitan Police Bureau.
Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri, the Royal Thai Police spokesman, said in a briefing on Saturday evening that police found Ishan had been involved in the bombings but were not clear about his role.
"The investigation to date has not indicated that Ishan is the mastermind, in line with Mr Mieraili's testimony that he used to stay at the apartment in Nong Chok," he said.
"But it is also possible Mr Mieraili might have withheld key information, especially on the mastermind."
"Ishan" is known to have entered Thailand in June and to have left the country for Bangladesh on Aug 16, the day before the Erawan bombing.
Mr Mieraili, 25, allegedly told police during 14 hours of questioning this week that Ishan had arranged meetings of the bombing cell and assigned them their tasks, sources say.
Bangladeshi police on Thursday confirmed that he later left for China with Chinese passport, according to an AFP report.
National police spokesman Nazrul Islam was quoted as saying that the suspect departed for China on Aug 30 by Jet Airways.
Pol Lt Gen Prawut said Thai authorities had asked the Bangladeshi embassy to check whether Ishan had contacted or stayed with anyone during the 14 days he stayed in Bangladesh.