Thai authorities release Bangkok bombing suspect’s images

World Today

A man prays at the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. The central Bangkok shrine reopened on Wednesday after Monday’s bomb blast to the public as authorities searched for a man seen in a grainy security video who they say was the prime suspect in an attack authorities called the worst in the country’s history. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Security services in Thailand have released images of a suspect they are seeking in connection with Monday night’s bombing at a popular shrine in Bangkok that has left at least 20 dead and over 100 injured.

Police said on Tuesday that the suspect, seen in closed-circuit TV footage, is a young man casually dressed with a backpack. In the throng of tourists in the busy Erawan shrine, he seems to slip the bag under a bench before slipping away into the night.

Thai police on Wednesday released a composite sketch of  the Erawan Shrine bombing suspect, offering a one million baht ($28,000) reward for any information on the man.

Bangkok bombing suspect composite

Bangkok bombing suspect composite

No further information is known about the suspect, or the reasons for the bombing, which Thai Prime Minister has described as the “worst attack on Thai soil”.

“From this incident, it is apparent that there are active individuals or groups that harbor the intention to damage Thailand, who may be pursuing political gain or other intentions by damaging the economy and tourism,” says Gen. Prayuth Chan Ocha, Thai Prime Minister.

“He didn’t do it alone, for sure. It’s a network,” national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung told the same news conference, adding, “I believe there are some Thai nationals involved.”

National police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsirisaid said that the suspect “looks like a foreigner” but “might have been in a disguise and that the security video appears to show two possible accomplices standing in front of the man who are also considered suspects, the Associated Press reported.

The Erawan Shrine is an important religious site and a major tourist attraction in Thailand. It houses a statue of Phra Phrom, or four-faced Lord Brahma, the Hindu god of creation.

Meanwhile tensions in Bangkok rose again when a second explosive device was thrown from Saphan Taksin Station in the Thai capital on Tuesday afternoon.

Experts say the bomb attacks in Thailand could deal a heavy blow to its tourism sector which has seen 15 million foreign arrivals in the first half of 2015.

Thai authorities identified six victims as Thai and four as Malaysians, along with four Chinese, two people from Hong Kong including one British citizen, one Indonesian and one Singaporean. Two victims remain unidentified, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Less than 24 hours after the rush-hour blast, tour operators were already reporting cancellations. Hong Kong issued a “red alert”, the second highest travel alert, warning against non-essential travel to the Thai capital. Other governments also advised citizens to be extra vigilant.

Report by CCTV News and The Associated Press.