Police hunt for clues against Karadag
New CCTV footage ties suspect to shrine blast
published : 25 Sep 2015 at 03:47
updated: 25 Sep 2015 at 06:15
newspaper section: News
writer: Post Reporters
Authorities are hunting for further evidence to confirm that detained suspect Bilal Turk, also known as Adem Karadag, was the bomber behind the Erawan shrine blast, despite his alleged confession.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said Thursday police reported Mr Karadag was likely the yellow-shirted man seen on video footage planting the deadly bomb at the shrine on Aug 17.
Security sources earlier said Mr Karadag admitted to being the man in the yellow shirt and said he had disguised himself with a wig and glasses.
The travels of Adem: Graphic below
But Gen Prawit said that even if the suspect confesses, more evidence is needed to corroborate the account.
"He might have confessed because there was evidence tying him to the scene, but we still need to investigate further. His account does not confirm anything," said Gen Prawit, adding that he believes police are on the right track.
According to the deputy prime minister, more evidence should be sought to determine the real motive behind the shrine bombing as well as any other networks involved.
Mr Karadag was the first suspect detained in connection with the shrine bombing and the Sathon pier blast, and was apprehended on Aug 29 at the same apartment in Nong Chok district where bomb-making materials were found.
Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) chief Srivara Rangsipramanakul said Mr Karadag confessed to police that he owned the bomb-making materials after he was detained by army officers.
Even though he has now admitted to being the yellow-shirted suspect, police will not believe it until there is enough evidence to back it up, Pol Lt Gen Srivara said.
Meanwhile, according to a police source, investigators went to question the suspect again at the 11th Army Circle where he is being detained, but Mr Karadag was ill and could not be interviewed.
The investigators will return later, said the source.
National police chief Somyot Poompunmuang said investigators have been convinced from the beginning that Mr Karadag was in fact the yellow-shirted bomber.
But because the yellow-shirted man seen on CCTV footage had long hair, wore glasses and walked in a certain way, police could not conclude it was Mr Karadag without further evidence, he said.
When questioned, the suspect changed his account day by day, added Pol Gen Somyot.
The suspect should be able to accurately describe each time how he moved from one point to another, he said, adding that further questioning is needed.
When asked what evidence police used to persuade Mr Karadag to confess, Pol Gen Somyot said investigators found various pieces of evidence tying the suspect to the scene, countering the suspect's earlier accounts.
"At this point, I think police are heading in the right direction," Pol Gen Somyot said, adding police are determined to arrest all suspects involved in the bombings.
Though Pol Gen Somyot refused to reveal the exact nature of the proof, security sources said that police had recently found new CCTV footage recorded in Lumpini Park not long after the bomb was planted at the shrine.
According to police sources, they initially only had footage of the suspect on the back of a motorcycle heading to the park and entering the park's toilets.
But the new footage shows the suspect near the toilets with a plastic bag in his hand. When officers zoomed in on the still frames, the bag had a yellow shirt inside.
Once police knew the suspect had changed his shirt before returning by taxi to his apartment, they used the evidence to convince Mr Karadag to confess it was him, said the sources.
Mr Karadag then agreed to re-enact his alleged crime by wearing a wig and glasses, "and he looks very much like the yellow-shirted suspect", added one of the sources, noting that Mr Karadag has a long scar on his arm, which in is covered by a strap in the video footage.
Speaking on television Thursday, police spokesman Dr Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri refused to confirm Mr Karadag was the bomber, though he said the two men looked alike.
Police will soon bring charges of causing an explosion, leading to deaths and injuries, against Mr Karadag, according to the sources.
Meanwhile, Mr Karadag's lawyer Choochart Khanpai told the Bangkok Post Thursday that reports his client had confessed to being the yellow-shirted suspect were unlikely to be true.
The lawyer added that his client is small with sloping shoulders, and is unlikely to be the yellow-shirted man with broad shoulders seen in the CCTV footage.
Mr Choochart also said he has not been able to meet with his client for two days despite his requests both on Tuesday and Thursday morning.
The prison guards said Mr Karadag was ill with a cold and could not eat, he said, adding that he will try to meet with his client on Monday to ask him about the confession.
Meanwhile, police are about to seek two more arrest warrants for people who allegedly supplied vehicles to the bombing suspects, another police source said.