Thailand issues arrest warrant for suspect in second blast

Saturday, 29 August 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

download-(1)Buddhist monks pray for victims of last Monday's deadly blast, as they walk at the Erawan shrine in Bangkok, Thailand, 24 August, 2015 - REUTERS

An arrest warrant has been issued for an unnamed suspect in a bomb blast at a Bangkok pier that took place a day after Thailand’s worst ever-bombing killed 20 people at a popular shrine, Thai police said on Friday.

Police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri said a court issued the warrant based on grainy video footage of a man in a blue shirt kicking a bag into the water near the pier on the night of 17 August, soon after the blast at Bangkok’s Hindu Erawan Shrine.

“We issued an arrest warrant for the suspect in the Sathorn pier incident,” police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri told Reuters, referring to a pier near Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river.

The suspect faces charges of unauthorised possession of explosives, exploding a bomb that could cause harm and attempted murder, according to the warrant.

The pier explosion caused no casualties.

Police have not definitively linked the two blasts and have offered few answers as to who could be behind the attacks.

In the shrine bombing investigation, police are focusing on a man seen in blurry security camera footage.

The footage shows a man in a yellow shirt and dark hair removing a backpack after entering the packed shrine and calmly walking away from the scene before the explosion.

Last week police issued an arrest warrant for an “unidentified foreign man” seen in the video footage along with an image of the suspected bomber.

Prawut said police were unlikely to issue a picture of the suspected pier bomber. “We’re unlikely to make a sketch of the suspect as his face is not clear,” he said.

The Erawan shrine bombing has taken a toll on tourism and caused a 17% fall in tourist arrivals, Thailand’s tourism ministry said on Wednesday.

Fourteen foreigners were among the 20 people killed in the attack at the famous Hindu shrine in Bangkok’s bustling commercial heart.