Bangkok bombings retaliation against Thai gov't clampdown on human trafficking: spokesman

xinhuanet.com 29-Sep-2015

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Thai national police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang (2nd L) attends a press conference at the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, Sept. 28, 2015. The two bombing attacks in Bangkok last month were retaliation against Thai government's suppression of human trafficking gangs, the authorities said Monday. (Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak)

BANGKOK, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- The two bombing attacks in Bangkok last month were retaliation against Thai government's suppression of human trafficking gangs, the authorities said Monday.

Any other possibilities are not yet ruled out, though there is no validity in other motives, Winthai Suwaree, spokesman of the National Council for Peace and Order, told a televised press briefing.

The authorities have so far apprehended Bilal Mohammed, alias Adem Karadak, and Mieraili Yusufu, two of the 17 suspects now facing arrest warrants, Winthai said, adding they have proven to be involved in the blasts at Erawan Shrine and the Sathorn Pier on Aug. 17 and 18.

The Aug. 17 bombing killed 20 people and injured more than 100 others, while the subsequent one caused no casualties.

Mohammed, who was arrested on Aug. 29, was the yellow-shirted man who was seen leaving the bomb at Erawan Shrine in security camera footage while Yusufu, who was apprehended on Sept. 1, was responsible for assembling bombs, police said at another press conference later in the day.

Police also identified a foreign national named Zubair as the blue-shirted man suspected to have dropped a bomb at the Sathorn Pier. Zubair's whereabouts remain unknown.

Political motives cannot yet be ruled out, outgoing national police chief Somyot Pumpunmuang told the press conference.

Mohammed and Yusufu, whose nationalities have yet to be confirmed, have confessed their crimes and were taken to reenact the crime at the sites on Saturday, according to Winthai.

The reenactment of the incidents in relevant areas has proven to be consistent with the evidence and investigation result, he said.

The two suspects have been charged with participating in a premeditated murder, in an attempt of premeditated murder, joint unauthorized possession of offensive weapons and joint possession of unauthorized explosives, among others.

Their confessions were not coerced, Somyot said.

Meanwhile, two Thai nationals are suspected to be connected in the bombing attacks, including a female named Wanna Suansan, whom the authorities have failed to contact, and Yongyuth Pobkaew or Odd Payungwong, a male who used to be involved in other politically related explosions in 2010 and 2014, police said.

Investigators are expediting efforts to bring other accomplices to justice, Winthai said.

The verification of suspects is based not only on the testimonies of the apprehended suspects, but also on forensic analysis of evidences collected from the crime scenes, he said.