Bangkok Blast: Police zeroes in on a male suspect

RSTV Bureau
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Bangkok : Investigations continue at the Erawan Shrine the morning after an explosion in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Photo – PTI

Thailand authorities are hopeful of headway in Monday’s twin blast inside the popular temple that killed 27 people and left 123 injured. The authorities have launched a hunt for a male suspect who is believed to have left the bomb inside Lord Brahma temple in a crowded area in central Bangkok on Monday evening.

Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha called an urgent high level meeting with the Cabinet colleagues and security agencies soon after the deadly incident. Post the meeting, briefing press, the Thai PM said “there is a male suspect who appeared on CCTV near the scene of the blast. We are looking for this guy”.

Claiming that motive behind the blast is yet to be concluded, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said that the perpetrators had used few people to commit the incident.

No group has taken responsibility of the twin blast thus far.

Briefing the local media, Thai Army chief Gen Udomdej Seetabutr said that the security officials had obtained video footages at the bomb explosion scene which clearly showed the suspect carrying a bag into the scene before it went off. He, however, did not elaborate the nationality of the suspect but said the bomb attack might be retaliation to the recent operation of the Thai government.

The Army chief also claimed that the “tactics” used in the blast did not match the Muslim separatist rebels in the country’s southern region.

The government though on its part claimed that the twin blasts, first ever in the country targeting any shrine, were aimed at damaging economy and tourism.

Bankok-blast-2The popular Brahma temple is located on a main road through Bangkok’s commercial hub and is surrounded by three major shopping malls and big hotels of international chains. It is among Bangkok’s most popular tourist attractions visited by East Asian tourists and local Buddhists.

Of the four foreigners dead, two have been identified as Chinese and a Philipino.

According to the probe so far, an improvised explosive device fastened to a utility pole inside the shrine complex at the Ratchaprasong intersection detonated at 6.55pm. The iron grills surrounding the temple, just in front of the Hyatt Hotel, were left badly mangled. The bomb was apparently placed near the grill inside the shrine compound. The shrine was not damaged.

Investigators have also claimed that the bomb was made of 5 kg of TNT explosive. Such was the impact of the blast that life and property within 40 metres were severely impacted.

However, there were no reports of any Indian casualties in the explosions.

“We are in close touch with the authorities concerned. So far there have been no reports of any Indians being injured,” Indian Ambassador to Thailand Harsh Vardhan Shringla told the news agency late on Monday night.

(With inputs from the PTI)