My Musings About the Bangkok Bomb Blast

Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan is also our Bangkok correspondent, since that is where he lives. Below is his personal account of what happened on August 17 near the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok.

My musings about the Bangkok bomb blast
by H. Numan

Monday evening I got an anxious phone call from my partner: ‘Everything okay?’ Yeah, I am. Why the sudden interest? ‘There has been an explosion at World Trade Plaza. Seven people are dead.’ Oops. That’s right round the corner of where we live. I didn’t hear a thing… His call was the first telling me something very bad happened almost on our doorstep. It proved to be much, much worse. Not the first time, mind you. We had a small explosion opposite World Trade Plaza in 2006. Later we had a three-month siege in 2010.

This time it’s very different. The 2006 bomb didn’t do much damage. When the army moved in to clear the siege in 2010, there was massive damage with serious loss of life. The red shirts intentionally torched many shops; Big C Ratchadamri, parts of World Trade Plaza and many other shops were completely destroyed. They fiercely resisted, and the army was happy to oblige them. It took more than a full year to rebuild those torched buildings.

What actually happened now: at about 19.00 hrs an explosive device went off in the Erawan shrine, killing 25 people and injuring 125. Two bombs were found nearby and deactivated. The next day someone threw a small explosive device from the Thaksin Bridge. This exploded in the water; nobody was injured. In both cases the perpetrators got away.

There is some video footage of a suspect of the Erawan blast, but not very clear. This seems to be a person 20-30 years old, with thick black curly hair wearing heavy framed glasses (“geek glasses”). He doesn’t seem Asian to me, and he might very well be wearing a wig and fake glasses. The police sketch released makes him appear much more Asian, though.

Nobody has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. That’s all we know. Everything else, including my observations, are pure 100% speculation. So do keep that in mind.

The Erawan shrine is a very important religious temple in Thailand. Not the most important; that is Wat Phra Kaeaw. It’s a Hindu rather than a Buddhist shrine, dedicated to Brahma. Next door is the Erawan Hilton hotel. During construction of the hotel lots of workers ‘mysteriously’ died, and it was established by experts (we have those aplenty) that the gods weren’t happy. A shrine dedicated to Brahma had to be erected, and was. Proper safety measures would have done the trick a lot better, but that’s more expensive.

This shrine became world-famous after some worshipers had their wishes granted. One famous incident was a wish granted to a rich and beautiful Thai lady. Her vow was to dance naked to honor Brahma. Of course, when the word got out, the press was present in numbers to take pictures. Nobody showed up. So the press and onlookers left. Seconds before closing time (20.00 hrs), a limousine parked right in front of the entrance. The lady got out in a bathrobe, and made her dance as quick as she could. Got in the limo again, and disappeared. She wasn’t only rich and beautiful, but also clever. And luckily camera phones hadn’t been invented yet.

Sometimes Brahma grants you your wish. The rule is that you can make any wish you want, but you must deliver whatever you promised to do in return. No matter what.

Today it’s a kind of Lourdes. Lots and lots of mainly Asian tourist visit the shrine to pray, and lots of Westerners want to see it as well. The name Erawan comes from the name of the thirty-three-headed elephant Brahma rides on. That many heads are a bit difficult to make, so usually Erawan is shown with three heads. The offerings are often monetary, and donated to charity. Hospitals nationwide get grants from this foundation. Offerings are often in kind, too. Usually wooden elephants in various sizes, some covered with gold leaf. Part of the monetary offerings is to pay for girls in traditional outfits dancing to honor Brahma. They sit in waiting under a roof. Once a worshiper has paid for his offering they perform ritual dances accompanied by traditional music. The number of dances varies, depending on the size of the offering.

A mentally disturbed man damaged in 2006 the statue of Brahma, and was lynched by taxi drivers on the spot. This happened in the very early morning. The lynch team was arrested, and immediately bailed out of jail by a senator who heartily approved of their swift action. I don’t know what happened with them afterwards. Thai justice is usually very harsh, but this might be a case where leniency was applied. Nationwide, people applauded the action of the taxi drivers. Thais are very easygoing people, but please do not touch their sensitive spots. They take both their country and religion very seriously.

Now you know that this bomb attack is much more than ‘just another bomb’. First of all, it attacked a very important religious place of worship. Second, it is a major tourist attraction. And finally, this seriously damaged tourism as well as business. The Thai stock exchange dropped the next morning, but it is recovering now.

The prime minister suspects this to be an attack by Red Shirts. The minister of defense thinks Uighurs may be behind it. Both don’t see any links to international or local (Muslim) terrorism. I respectfully disagree with both of them. Supposing the minister of defense is correct, this most certainly is international terrorism. Supposing the prime minister is correct, the Red Shirts would be finished as a political force. Nobody would want to be associated with such a vile group. (That would be akin to the Tea Party blowing up Mount Rushmore.) It simply makes no sense at all. Even a child could see tourism and the economy were going to be hurt. Yes, the Red and Yellow shirts don’t like each other very much, but both are Thai. And proud about it! They would never intentionally blow up any religious shrine or willfully try destroy the national economy.

That rules out, in my opinion, a local political attack. It might also be ‘an alternative business settlement’, as the 2006 explosion was. It’s a lot cheaper, quicker and far more effective to pay Bt. 50,000 to permanently shut up a competitor than spend millions in legal proceedings over many years. Something a few not-so-scrupulous businessmen prefer. However, no businessman, scrupulous or otherwise, would want to be associated with 25 deaths at a nationally very important shrine. That rules out a business dispute.

I see two possibilities: first of all, the Muslim troubles in the deep south of Thailand. This has been going on for over a decade. The Muslim insurgents don’t state a clear goal; they simply harass (Buddhist) Thais wherever they can. After successful attacks they never claim responsibility. So far, the only exceptions are in the deep south itself, in the provinces of Yala, Naratiwat and Pattani.

There is a very strong military presence there, schoolteachers get severance pay from the government and if they want, a free Colt .45 or military protection. It is that dangerous there. You don’t hear much about it in the news, and neither do we here. Nevertheless, at least 6,500 people have died during the past decade. That’s an average of almost two persons a day, every day, for ten years, non-stop.

That they didn’t use their normal explosives or tactics in these two attacks doesn’t automatically exempt them. I see them, once again in my personal opinion, as the prime suspects. First of all, nobody claimed responsibility. That’s a southern insurgent signature. Second, they struck in the very heart of religion. Third, they hurt the economy badly. Both are clear Muslim terrorist indications. Given the choice of blowing up the Vatican or the French parliament, they would probably decide which by flipping a coin.

It might be revenge for the Uighur extradition. I disagreed with the minister of defense above, but that is purely semantics. Uighurs don’t live in Thailand. If they bombed the Erawan shrine, it would automatically be an act of international terrorism. They certainly are capable of doing it. What speaks against them doing it is that they have rarely, if ever, attacked outside of China. Certainly not on a scale like this.

What we can rule out for now is ISIS or Al Qaeda. Both of them would have claimed the attack within minutes. They haven’t so far. Even if they were indirectly involved by supplying explosive or advice, they would have made it known to the world.

That leaves two possible suspects: the Uighurs and the Southern extremists. Again, I cannot say anything with certainty, but it seems to me that the Southern extremists are at the moment the most likely candidates.

The search continues while I’m writing this article. The government has just officially asked for Interpol support. Police are now looking for at least ten suspects and assume a lot of planning was involved with bomb makers, scouts and lookouts. They also agree with me (I feel honored!): the prime suspect was wearing a wig and false glasses.

— H. Numan

26 thoughts on “My Musings About the Bangkok Bomb Blast

  1. Excellent analysis. That the very high death toll and general horror of the Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand – only 10 years, I thought it dated from the creation of the Malaysian-Thai border many decades ago – hardly figures in the Western media is perplexing.

    • The fact that the Thai Muslim insurgency doesn’t figure in the Western media at all is easily understandable…it doesn’t fit the 68’er Leftist narrative of Muslims and/or other Third Worlder’s storming back against Western colonialism. The fact that it features Muslim on Hindu or Muslim on Buddhist violence just confuses them…all these Non- Western religions are just supposed to “Co-Exist”.

  2. Thank you. Very educational about the southern Muslim insurgency in Thailand.

    Is it me, or does the sketch of the possible culprit resemble Dzhokar Tsarnaev? There’s absolutely no way he could have been at large, but it’s more than a passing resemblance. Are there Chechens “advising” the southern Thai Islamists?

  3. No, the southern troubles go much further back, around 1900. The three sultanates joined the Thai kingdom, and have always been used as Thailand’s (then Siam) Siberia. Bad civil servants were sent there for punishment.

    What you refer to is correct, Thailand did look the other way during the Malaysian insurgency. The Malaysian government of course remembers this and now offers that smelly cigar (out of the Thai box) to the Thai government.

    The Malaysian government doesn’t actively support the insurgents, but they don’t do much to stop them. Smiling very politely to the Thai government whispering: remember when you looked the other way, during the 60’s? We can do that too, you know.

  4. We are fortunate to have an on-the-scene resident like H. Numan to provide background. His article is very informative. May I suggest three improvements?
    (1) A very brief explanation of the Red Shirts and the Yellow Shirts would help news consumers who are ignorant of Thai affairs.
    (2) “There is a very strong military presence [in southern Thailand;] schoolteachers get severance pay from the government and[,] if they want, a free Colt .45 or military protection.”
    Is this really severance pay (being paid a bonus when you abandon teaching)? This pay seems to be what in the military would be called “combat pay”. Maybe what is meant is that “teachers get paid extra to compensate for the danger”.
    (3) The picture is not identified. Is it a police sketch of the bombing suspect? What does its text say?
    — Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

  5. Mark, the teachers in the 3 most southern provinces get combat pay. And free weapons or a free military escort, if they prefer that. They can sleep, if need be, in the schools. The picture is the police sketch of the suspect.

    Something else I found out today:

    The news reports the suspect took two tuk-tuk rides, one from Hua Lampong Station to Chulalongkorn university and another one from a hotel to the Erawan shrine. Both drivers were identified with full names in the news (that comes in real handy, if you want to have a chat with them later on).

    Both did NOT say they transported a foreigner, or a foreigner who spoke Thai. That is an important piece of information; tuk-tuk drivers speak Thai only, with a few rudimentary English words.

    If they tell the police ‘I transported this man from A to B’, and NOT mention he spoke in a foreign language or heavily accented, it means the passenger spoke fluent Thai. Not that many foreigners speak fluent Thai, therefore I assume that the suspect probably is a Thai.

    • H. Numan,
      Thanks for that additional information. An online search finds ,
      from which I gather that the Red Shirts and Yellow Shirts are factions in domestic Thai politics, unrelated to jihad.
      (Hey, has anybody thought of creating Cub Scout-like boys’ clubs called Red Shorts and Yellow Shorts? Thai children would have to be pretty sophisticated to enjoy English-language puns.)

  6. My wife and I always visit the shrine whenever we are in Bangkok. Luckily we haven’t been there for a couple of months. We are divided as to who was responsible for the explosions. She feels it is the red shirts.
    She and her various family members spent their weekends in Bangkok during the anti-Thaksin demonstrations (I stayed home to look after the animals). She was present when the red shirts fired on the demonstrators and threw grenades into the crowd. She believes the attack was carried out at the behest of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. He has made threats before.
    I agree with H.Numan. We have seen islamic atrocities across Europe and know these people are capable of anything. The photo fit resembles a person of middle eastern, north African or Pakistani appearance. If it is accurate, it contradicts the information provided by the tuk-tuk driver who allegedly picked up the man at Hua Lampong.
    Right now, I am as confused as anyone else. We will have to wait and see.
    But it is important to note that, whatever happened, I feel far safer in Thailand than I would in London or anywhere else in Europe.

  7. Thanks for all the information and the insight.

    Is there any information on the diffused bombs? Location or nature of the intended targets?

    Whoever they are, they intended to do more than they acheived.


  8. Muslim coefficient: 100%


    “The mass murder has been identified as a Muslim named Mohamad Museyin. “The motive behind the attack remains unclear,” says the Herald Sun, but in reality the motive is only unclear to those who refuse to admit that there is a global jihad. The motive of a Muslim who leaves a backpack with a bomb in it at a Hindu shrine that is frequented by Buddhists in a country that has been battling jihad violence for years now is unclear only to those who are willfully ignorant.”

    • “The motive behind the attack remains unclear.”

      The motive behind saying “The motive behind the attack reamins unclear.” remains unclear.

  9. Police Refute ‘The Times’ Report Naming Suspect
    21 August 2015, Last update at 17:09:00 GMT
    Khaosod English

    BANGKOK — Police have denied a news report earlier today claiming two witnesses who said they interacted with the suspected Bangkok bomber had positively identified him in a passport photo shown to them by authorities.

    While one suspect remains the singular focus of intense scrutiny and speculation behind Monday’s deadly bombing at the Erawan Shrine, police refuted a report from correspondent Richard Lloyd Parry claiming one witness was “100 percent sure” the suspect was the same man whose passport photo was shown to him.

    “I don’t know who the source in this story is, but let me insist that police are working based on the evidence that we have,” outgoing national police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang told reporters this afternoon when asked about the report.
    Somyot denied the man named in the news report was a person of interest.

    Asked specifically if investigators have linked any name to the suspected bomber yet, Somyot said “not yet.”

    “But even if I have the name, I wouldn’t necessarily tell the media, because it won’t do anyone any good,” he said.

    Earlier today the account was posted by correspondent Richard Lloyd Parry on his Facebook, who said the story was only published in electronic editions of the paper this morning and not available online. Parry is a correspondent for London-based The Times.

    “When the police showed me the pictures, I recognised him immediately,” the report quotes a Nikhom Tantula, who is said to be one of two motorcycle taxis who stepped forward to say they had given the suspect a ride.

    “I said: ‘I’m 100 percent sure’. They asked me some questions, but not many. It’s strange.”

    Nikhom, in Parry’s account, said he gave ride to the suspect eight days in a row in February, always at 5:30am from a stand on Sathorn Road and was confident it was the same man shown to him in a passport photo shown to him by an immigration official.

    Nikhom recounted taking the man, Parry wrote, to a hotel close to Asoke Hospital in central Bangkok.

    While there is no listing for an Asoke Hospital, there is an Asoke Skin Hospital near the MRT Petchaburi station on Asok-Din Daeng Road.

    The name identified in Parry’s report is “Mohamad Museyin.” Perry’s [sic] account appears to rely on spelling seen by the two men on the passport page shown to them. Searching public records finds few references to a Museyin family name, and it could be a possible misspelling of Huseyin, a common name in Turkey.

    In Turkey, Huseyin is a common rendering of a common name spelled elsewhere as Hussein.

    That possibility is likely to fan the flames of suspicion the attacker might have been acting over anger about Thailand’s forcible return of more than 100 Uighur refugees to China in July. The day after they were deported, an angry mob ransacked the Thai Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

    Since Monday’s deadly attack, which killed at least 20 and wounded more than 150, public signals from investigators have centered on one man seen in CCTV footage leaving a backpack in the shrine minutes before the blast.

    Debate has swirled about his identity, with no conclusive evidence provided as to his nationality or ethnic background, despite a wash of rumors and claims.

    Facebook, eh? This is second time in less than a week that social-media fueled rumors have strewn red herring in the bombing case. (The first instance related to a perfectly innocent Australian model/fashion blogger who bore a VERY remote resemblance to the prime suspect as shown in the CCTV footage.)

    I note that the only press to touch the Parry story were two Australian outlets — Herald Sun and Sky News Australia.

    I am annoyed with myself because I initially fell for the story. Serves me right for not waiting for verification from the police. But at least I can now return to nursing my pet theory about whodunit: a violent, pro-Thaksin Shinawatra faction in the Thai military.

  10. Oops — re my previous post a few minutes ago: I might have violated GOV’s excerpt policy by posting an entire news report, so here’s a shorter version:

    Police Refute ‘The Times’ Report Naming Suspect
    21 August 2015, Last update at 17:09:00 GMT
    Khaosod English

    BANGKOK — Police have denied a news report earlier today claiming two witnesses who said they interacted with the suspected Bangkok bomber had positively identified him in a passport photo shown to them by authorities.

    While one suspect remains the singular focus of intense scrutiny and speculation behind Monday’s deadly bombing at the Erawan Shrine, police refuted a report from correspondent Richard Lloyd Parry claiming one witness was “100 percent sure” the suspect was the same man whose passport photo was shown to him.

    “I don’t know who the source in this story is, but let me insist that police are working based on the evidence that we have,” outgoing national police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang told reporters this afternoon when asked about the report.
    Somyot denied the man named in the news report was a person of interest.

    I note that the only press to touch the Parry account naming “Mohamad Museyin” were two Australian outlets — Herald Sun and Sky News Australia.

    I am annoyed with myself because I initially fell for the report at Sky News. Serves me right for not waiting for verification from the police. But at least I can now return to nursing my pet theory about whodunit: a violent, pro-Thaksin Shinawatra faction in the Thai military.

  11. Futher to the report I mentioned in my previous comment — “Police Refute ‘The Times’ Report Naming Suspect;” 21 August 2015; Khaosod English

    The Bangkok Post reported 22 Aug 2015 at 06:37am local time:

    [Police] Gen Somyot also dismissed a report by The Times journalist Richard Lloyd Parry that stated Thai authorities investigating Monday’s bombing were focusing on a foreign man with a Muslim name, Mohammad Museyin.

    The police chief said police did not have that information and he had no idea from where The Times got the name.

    Gen Prayut confirmed police have not revealed any names of suspects in the bombing and said he was also at a loss to explain how The Times had obtained the information.


    However, the Post report doesn’t detail how the “Mohammad Museyin” story got off the ground; for that, one needs to read the report at Khaosod English.

  12. See TVNZ website for photo of the captured suspect and his phony Turkish passport.

    Bangkok bombing foreign suspect arrested and named
    2:38pm EDT – August 29, 2015
    The Associated Press via TV New Zealand (TVNZ)

    Thai authorities have identified the foreigner they arrested with a fake Turkish passport and bomb-making materials, in the first possible breakthrough in the deadly bombing at a Bangkok shrine nearly two weeks ago.

    “He is most likely related to the bombing,” said deputy police chief Chakthip Chaijinda of the suspect.

    Police spokesman Prawuth Thavornsiri said police found detonators and a metal pipe with lids, apparently meant to be used as a bomb, during the raid on 28-year-old Adem Karadag’s apartment in outskirts of eastern Bangkok.

    He said several passports were found in the apartment but did not say from which country.

    The August 17 blast at the Erawan Shrine in one of Bangkok’s most upscale shopping districts left 20 people dead, including several foreigners, and more than 120 people injured.

    A day later another bomb exploded in the Sathorn area of Bangkok but did not cause any injuries.

    Thavornsiri said preliminary checks show the suspect is related to both bombings.
    Authorities had not yet determined his nationality, dismissing reports by local news organisations that he is Turkish, he said.

    Images of the passport were posted on social media. “The passport you see is fake. We don’t know if he is Turkish or not,” Thavornsiri said.

    The suspect is being held by the military for interrogation.

  13. From CNN – “However, he is not the man in a yellow T-shirt and dark-framed glasses who was identified from surveillance video as the chief suspect in the bombing, Prawut said. “The man we have is not the man in the sketch, but we believe he is part of the network which carried out the two bomb incidents,” he said.”

    Well. That explains why the captured suspect looks nothing like the police sketch OR the person in the CCTV footage.

    More from the CNN report:

    “Prawut initially said the suspect arrested Saturday was a Turkish national. But he subsequently told CNN: “At first we thought he is Turkish. But we just found out two Turkish passports he is holding are all fake.

    “We also found many empty fake passports, also various kinds of evidences.”

    Prawut said investigators hunting for clues had “also found the same type of ball bearings in this man’s apartment.” [that were packed into the bombs]

    High ranking police officers, forensic experts and army personnel were all seen outside the building shortly after news of the arrest broke.

    The apartment is in the Nong Jok suburb, an area known to house a large Muslim community.”

    For Pete’s sake, I give up trying to follow the reporting on the crazy police investigation of the bombings. I wish the police would stop yapping to the press until after they have their ducks in a row.

    All right, that’s enough whining. Here’s the url to the CNN report

    And the Sydney Morning Herald contains this information in addition to its backgrounder on the Grey Wolves, who are now suspected of possible involvement with the Bangkok bombings (“Bangkok bombing: Who are the Turkish terrorist group the Grey Wolves?”)

    “Thai police have been searching for Turkish nationals who arrived in Thailand in the 15 days before a blast tore through foreign tourists and Thais at the Erawan shrine on August 17, killing 20 people and injuring more than 120 others in an unprecedented attack.

    But their breakthrough in the investigation came when residents of a predominantly Muslim district of Bangkok on Saturday reported to police the suspicious activities of a non-Thai speaking man renting five rooms in a seedy, four-storey apartment block.

    After more than 100 police surrounded the building they found a man believed to 28 years old in a room with a stack of false passports and bomb making equipment similar to that used in the shrine bombing, including ball bearings, pipes and fuses.

    The bearded man with short cropped hair has been charged with possession of bomb making material and is being held in a Thai military base pending further investigation.

    Anthony Davis, a respected Bangkok-based security analyst with IHS-Jane’s, said last week the Grey Wolves were likely to be behind the bombing because they had both motive and capability, although he did not rule out other possibilities.

    “They are violent and operate below the radar,” he said.

    Mr Davis said the group had “latched onto in a big way” Uighur Muslims in western China who claim they have suffered years of persecution from Beijing.

    Thailand infuriated the Uighur movement in July when the country deported to China 109 Uighur men who had been separated from their wives and children.

    Ethnic-Chinese tourists appear to have been targets of the shrine bombers. Mr Davis described the Bangkok attack as potentially the nightmare that has worried security agencies, a link-up between terrorism and organized crime. ”

    The Grey Wolves as the report explains, are strongly linked with organized crime.

    Tony Cartalucci is probably still very suspicious of the Grey Wolves theory, which he lambasted when it was first published, on Aug 25 (“BREAKING: Jane’s Analyst Implicates NATO Terror Group in Bangkok Blast”).

    From Tony’s report it does seem there are a few holes in the Grey Wolves theory, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

    Finally, a person writing to this comment section had asked days back whether anyone knew the location of other bombs that had been found, or words to that effect. To my knowledge, the police have not released that information but from the early reporting they had found and defused two bombs, seemingly of the same type that was detonated at Erawan and Sathorn pier.

    That could be why the police said that the Erawan pipe bomb had been wrapped in white cloth; i.e., the two intact bombs might have been wrapped in such fashion.

    Over and out. Sigh.

  14. It’s beginning to look as if the takeway message for observers of the bombing incident is “Never assume.”

    From a post at my blog earlier tonight:

    This could be the explanation for the large number of forged blank passports found in the suspect’s apartment. The forgeries are so crummy that this is one reason police have tentatively ruled out that the suspect is part of an international terrorist organization:

    “Thailand bombing suspect ‘part of people-smuggling gang’
    Deutsche Welle with combined reports from Associated Press, Reuters, dpa
    August 30, 2015

    The foreign suspect reportedly refused to answer any questions or provide details about whether he played a role in the bomb attack that killed 20 people and left scores wounded, Thai officials said Sunday.

    Police spokesman Prawuth Thawornsiri also said the detained suspect may have been part of a people-smuggling ring helping illegal migrants obtain forged documents. The spokesman added it was possible the attack was in retaliation for a recent Thai crackdown on the trade in the region.

    “They (the gang) are unsatisfied with police arresting illegal entrants,” he told Channel 3 in an interview.

    “The interrogation is not making progress because the suspect is not really giving useful information,” army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr told AFP.

    “We have to conduct further interrogations and make him better understand so he will be more cooperative – while we have to be careful not to violate the suspect’s rights,” he added.

    The 28-year-old foreigner was arrested on Saturday at a flat in Nong Jok on Bangkok’s eastern outskirts. Police allegedly found bomb-making materials as well as a stack of fake passports at the property. Police spokesman Prawuth said the materials were similar to those used in the bomb that went off at the Erawan Shrine in the heart of the Thai capital on August 17. He added, however, that the detained man may only be linked to the attack, not the bomber himself.

    Identity unknown

    The suspect, whose identity is yet to be verified, is being held at an army base north of Bangkok on charges of possessing illegal explosives. Local reports suggested he could be from Turkey, but the Turkish embassy has denied the claim.

    Following the blast, images were circulated of a yellow-shirted individual who was captured on camera leaving a bag at the scene of the explosion. It’s not clear whether the man arrested Saturday is the same man in the video footage.

    Thai police on Sunday were monitoring about 1,000 mobile phone numbers and checking photographs used in some 200 seized passports to track down other people who may have been involved in orchestrating the strike. […]”

    See also VICE News report from Aug 30:

  15. Events are now moving with almost blinding speed in the police investigation of the case. The AP report I featured in my previous comment is nowhere near as informative as the Bangkok Post report on the locating of the second apartment. (Home team advantage.) The BP report also presents a handy review of the police investigation up to this point.

    One correction to my previous comment: I’d written that the forged passports found in the first apartment were blank but they were filled in, although whether all the passports were filled in, I don’t know. But the Thai police are trying to track down the people named/photographed on the passports.

    It is beginning to look as if the bombing investigation is intersecting with a large people-smuggling network based in Turkey. See the BBC’s investigative report “The Facebook smugglers selling the dream of Europe” (May 13, 2015) for information on the Turkish angle in the current wave of people smuggling.

    It’s possible GoV already linked to the article but if you haven’t seen it, it’s a ‘must’ read.

    To return to the BP report:

    “It is believed many other people, some of whom are likely to be Thai nationals, are involved, said Pol Lt Gen Prawut. He did not give a number.

    One of the possible motives is the blasts [was] an act of personal revenge after police recently cracked down on foreign criminals including those running fake passport syndicates.

    It is possible the suspect is involved in a syndicate that makes counterfeit passports for nationals who entered Thailand on the quiet and wanted to travel to a third country, he said.

    More than 200 fake passports were seized from the suspect’s room, which lends weight to this theory, he said.


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