Thai police announce arrest in Bangkok shrine bombing

BANGKOK: The Thai police on Saturday arrested a foreign man who they said was likely to have been involved in the deadly bombing of a Bangkok shrine nearly two weeks ago.


“We are quite confident that this person is probably linked to the blast,” said Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda, Thailand’s deputy chief of police. “The investigation is going in the right direction.”

The man’s name was not immediately released, and no charges were announced. The police said they had arrested him at an apartment in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood in the northern suburbs of Bangkok.

The police found ball bearings in the apartment that resembled those used in the blast, General Chakthip said.

They also found 10 passports in the apartment, he said. The Thai news media showed images of a Turkish passport, but there were indications that it may have been counterfeited.

The August 17 explosion at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok’s central shopping district killed 20 people and was the worst attack of its kind in recent Thai history. More than 100 people were wounded, and a dozen remain in serious condition.

Before Saturday, the police had said that they had few leads in the investigation. Security cameras showed a man placing a bag under a bench at the shrine shortly before the explosion, which occurred during evening rush hour.

The man’s movements across Bangkok were partly reconstructed by the authorities, based on footage from other security cameras and interviews with taxi drivers.

A photo purported to be of the man arrested Saturday circulated on social media, and some Thai news organizations said it resembled a police sketch of the suspect that was released in the days after the bombing.