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Police: Bombing conducted by 'network'

Updated: 2015-08-20 07:43
By Agencies in Bangkok, Thailand (China Daily)

Erawan Shrine reopens to the public two days after attack as officials continue search for suspects and motive behind deadly explosion

Thailand's national police chief said on Wednesday that a deadly bombing at a central Bangkok shrine was carried out by "a network," as investigators focused on a man seen in a grainy security video leaving a backpack behind just 20 minutes before the explosion.

Police chief Somyot Poompanmoung made the comment before a meeting of national police commanders, saying he was carrying orders from the prime minister who "is worried about the security of people and tourists in Thailand."

The shrine reopened two days after the attack, but little is known about who was behind the blast. No one has claimed responsibility for the Monday evening explosion at the Erawan Shrine, located at one of the capital's busiest intersections, which left 20 people dead and more than 120 injured.

Seven Chinese nationals, five from the mainland and two from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, have been confirmed killed in the blast, and 26 were seriously injured, the Chinese embassy said on Wednesday.

Authorities said they were keeping watch for the suspect at the country's borders, but Somyot Pumpanmuang said that it was not clear how many people were involved in the attack or if they were still in the country.

"I don't suspect one person, I suspect many people," he said. "I am confident that there are Thais involved but I am not saying it is just Thais or that there are foreigners."

Police have released still photos of the man, both with and without the backpack, and a video posted separately on Thai media appeared to show the same man sitting on a bench at the shrine, taking off the backpack and leaving it behind as he walked away.

"The yellow-shirt guy is not just the suspect. He is the bomber," police spokesman Lieutenant General Prawut Thavornsiri told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The attack has raised concerns about safety in a city that draws millions of tourists and had never experienced an attack of this magnitude.

AP - Reuters - Xinhua

(China Daily 08/20/2015 page12)

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