Police in Thailand say they are ready to prosecute two suspects in connection with the August bombing of a prominent religious shrine in central Bangkok that killed 20 people and wounded 120 others.
Authorities say that one of the two suspects is “yellow-shirt man” seen in a closed circuit video leaving a backpack behind moments before the deadly blast. The second man is said to have been an accomplice.
Earlier this month, police had said that neither of the men were “main suspects” after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha initially said that one of them was the bomber.
At least 15 other people are still being sought in connection with the bombing that police say was motivated by people smugglers whose operation was broken up by Thai authorities. A warrant for at least one other suspect, a woman, is still outstanding.
“Today, police are confident Adem [Karadag] and Yusufu [Mieraili] are the real attackers,” National Police Chief Somyot Poomphanmuang told reporters. “Adem is the yellow-shirted man who planted the bomb. Yusufu is the one who exploded the bomb.”
Somyot declared the investigation complete despite the numerous suspects who remain at large.
As is customary in the Thai justice system, authorities on Saturday brought the men to the scene of the explosion to reenact their alleged crime before the media. The Bangkok Post has a series of photos of the reenactment here.
“The two suspects had confessed they had met at Hua Lamphong railway station before separating. Mr Karadag went to the Ratchaprasong intersection to place a bomb-filled rucksack at the Erawan [shrine] on Aug 17. He then went to a toilet at Lumpini park to change his yellow shirt to a grey one before returning to his accommodation in Nong Chok district of Bangkok.
“Mr Karadag, also known as Bilal Turk, was identified by police as the yellow-shirted man based on CCTV footage that captured him planting the deadly bomb at the shrine.”
From the beginning, the investigation into the bombing has been fraught with missteps and misstatements that left about the competence of Thai authorities. As The Associated Press notes: “many questions remain unanswered about the case. Police have not detailed what action triggered the alleged violent revenge, and Somyot suggested Saturday that the people smugglers ‘might have hired’ another group of people to carry out the attack. The names and nationalities of some of the others being sought are still unknown.
“Even the two arrested men’s true identities remain uncertain. Adem Karadag was arrested when police raided an apartment in Bangkok on Aug. 29, where they also found bomb-making materials and a large quantity of fake passports, including a bogus Turkish passport carrying the photo of the suspect and the name Adem Karadag.”