Bangkok bomb suspect fled to Turkey – police

  • 15/09/2015
Bangkok bomb suspect fled to Turkey – police

A key suspect in last month's bombing at a Bangkok shrine that killed 20 people has fled to Turkey, Thai police say.

Police had previously said the man, carrying a Chinese passport in the name Abudureheman Abudusataer, may have directed the August 17 bombing of the Erawan Shrine.

Investigations revealed that he left Thailand on August 16 for Bangladesh, and police speculated that he might have gone to China.

However, national police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said information gathered by Thai police and Bangladeshi officials showed that the man departed Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, on August 30 and travelled to Istanbul in Turkey as his final destination, via New Delhi and Abu Dhabi.

"He departed Dhaka on August 30 for Delhi by Jet Airways," Prawut said. "From Delhi, he continued his travel to Abu Dhabi, and from Abu Dhabi he travelled on August 31 to Istanbul. This is his final destination. It's clear."

This bolstered the theory that those behind the blast are Uighurs from the Chinese region of Xinjiang who have close ties to Turkey. Several of the 12 bombing suspects for whom arrest warrants have been issued are believed to be Turkish.

Thailand has suggested those behind the blast may have been from a gang involved in smuggling Uighurs. But others speculate they may be separatists or Islamist extremists angry that Thailand repatriated more than 100 Uighurs to China in July.

Also on Monday, Malaysia's police chief announced a Pakistani and two Malaysians have been detained in connection with the Bangkok bombing.

Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters that the three were detained a few days ago following a tip-off by Thai authorities. He said one of the Malaysians is a woman.

Among those who died in last month's blast were five Malaysians from one family. Many of the victims were foreigners as the shrine is a popular destination for tourists and Thais alike.

Khalid did not give details or say where in Malaysia the three were detained, when they will be formally charged, or what the charges would be.

Thai police say the man who may have actually planted the bomb may have fled across Thailand's southern border to Malaysia, but Khalid refused to speculate.

AP