Bomb investigation hits snag

Confusion over witness evidence is hampering police efforts to identify the suspects in the Erawan Shrine bombing and the blast at Sathon pier in the capital a week ago. Police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said police chief Somyot Pumpunmuang on Wednesday questioned again the taxi driver who might have taken the bomber away from the shrine on Aug 17.

Police were trying to know exactly when and where the driver picked up the passenger and where he took him, as present information was confusing, said Pol Lt Gen Prawut who is also an assistant police chief. “The taxi driver said he picked up a foreigner who did not speak Thai well, but certain phrases could be practised beforehand,” he said.

Because of the confusion over the information from the driver, police could not determine if the suspect was a Thai or foreigner. “Giving more weight to a foreign suspect than a Thai could make us lost. It is not difficult to pretend to speak Thai unclearly,” Pol Lt Gen Prawut said.

Insufficient CCTV footage and the quality of available pictures also prevented police from identifying the suspects who caused the explosion at the Erawan shrine and another one at the Sathon pier on the following day, Aug 18. Pol Lt Gen Prawut asked anyone who might have pictures of a suspect on their cameras to send copies to police to support the investigation.

Detectives were examining fingerprints collected from the taxi and banknotes paid to the driver to identify a suspect but the process would take time, he said. Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said on Wednesday that investigators were making progress. He had ordered examination of CCTV footage to identify a suspect but there were problems with some cameras, Gen Prawit said.