Warrant out for Pakistani man

Warrant out for Pakistani man

A warrant was issued for Abdul Tawab (right) in connection with the Erawan shrine bombing. (Bangkok post file photo and Royal Thai Police photo)
A warrant was issued for Abdul Tawab (right) in connection with the Erawan shrine bombing. (Bangkok post file photo and Royal Thai Police photo)

The Min Buri Court has approved an arrest warrant for Abdul Tawab in connection with the Aug 17 Erawan shrine and Sathorn pier bombing case.

Police charged Abdul Tawab, 40, with collaborating to illegally have in possession explosives and armaments.

They sought the warrant after searching a room at Pool-Anant Apartment in Bangkok's Nong Chok district on Aug 29.

Yusufu Mieraili, the suspect arrested along the Thai-Cambodian border in Sa Kaeo on Sept 1, also implicated Mr Tawab, saying he knew the man. Witnesses at the apartment also confirmed Mr Mieraili's account.

Mr Tawab is allegedly chief of an Uighur trafficking gang through Thailand to third countries.

He also reportedly helped the blue-shirted man, believed to be responsible for the Sathorn pier bombing, and an unknown man seen at a Bang Kapi mall, escape to Malaysia.

Mr Tawab is believed to be a Pakistani national and husband of Panissara Chaleerattarom, a 39-year-old Thai arrested on Sunday at a dormitory near University of Thailand Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok's Din Daeng area on Sunday, said police spokesman Pol Lt Gen Prawut Tavornsiri on Thursday.

"We have yet to verify whether he really is her husband. But we have a rough idea he had not played as big a role in the plot as Yusufu Mieraili [the suspect arrested along the Thai-Cambodian border in Sa Kaeo on Sept 1] did.

"We think they are all on the same team. While we can't identify the mastermind, we don't think Ishan [Abudusataer Abudureheman] is the man. Mr Tawab could be a facilitator while Ms Panissara might have known about the illegal entry and given the perpetrators refuge," he said.

Police think Ishan, who remains at large, might have been the yellow-shirted man caught on closed-circuit cameras placing the bomb at the Erawan shrine.

Ms Panissara was also captured by closed-circuit cameras hailing a taxi for the blue-shirted man, believed to be the bomber at Sathorn pier on Aug 18. She is now in military custody and would be sent to police after soldiers are done questioning her, he said.

As the investigation unfolds, police have found the network keeps expanding, involving several people.

The general also said the Turkish Embassy in Bangkok had sent its first secretary to help verify passports seized by Thai authorities, as well as that held by Adem Karadag.

The first suspect caught in this case, Mr Karadag was arrested in an apartment full of passports and bomb materials in Min Buri on Aug 29. His lawyer later denied his involvement in the bombing but admitted he had entered Thailand illegally. Police thought he might have been the caretaker of the materials.  

The general said the Turkish diplomat would like to send all passports to Turkey for proper verification.

"We could not comply with the request because they are kept by the military and are needed for criminal proceedings," Pol Lt Gen Prawut said.

The most Thai authorities can do right now is to give copies of them to the embassy and allow them to verify the documents in Thailand, he added.

Pol Lt Gen Prawit also said police had discussed with the Turkish diplomat about the escape route of Ishan, whom the Bangladeshi Embassy confirmed had left Bangladesh for Turkey.

Earlier, the embassy issued a statement it was not contacted by Thai police for help in the case as claimed by Thai authorities.

The general explained by protocols police could not send documents directly to Turkish authorities.

"I admit I might have jumped to conclusion. We will from now on find a way to coordinate more closely with Turkish authorities. In the meantime, we're checking with the United Arab Emirates and India as Ishan was said to have gone through Abu Dhabi and India," he said.

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