Bangkok bomber may have left the country

2015-08-20 10:03
Thai policemen check security at bars in the tourist area of Bangkok. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul, AFP)

Thai policemen check security at bars in the tourist area of Bangkok. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul, AFP)

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Bangkok - The main suspect behind a bombing that left 20 dead in Bangkok may have already left the country, police said Thursday.

Police spokesperson Prawut Thavornsiri told reporters that he was "unsure" where the main suspect seen in CCTV footage was, and that the man may no longer be in Thailand.

"We are in the process of collecting video footage going back a month from every camera in this area," Prawut said.

He added that the suspect was definitely a part of larger network.

Prawut also said that Thai police had asked Interpol for help.

"We have not yet received any feedback from Interpol, but they are trying to help. Every country is trying to help," Prawut said.

"We do not believe at this time that the suspect was part of a larger international terrorist network," government spokesperson Winthai Suvaree said. "And we do not believe Chinese tourists were deliberately targeted."

Observers had speculated that the bomb may have been planted by extremists of the Uighur Muslim minority in China. Thailand deported more than 100 Uighurs in July back to China, where rights campaigners say they face persecution.

Authorities consulted foreign intelligence services before concluding that no international group was involved, a police spokeswoman said.

The police said in a statement that the bomb was probably "the work of at least 10 people and at least one month's planning, with Thai people involved."

Winthai also said that the government would prosecute any individuals spreading false rumours about the bombings.

All the fatalities had been identified, police medical officials said on Thursday.

After police released sketches of the suspect on Wednesday, social media witch hunts prompted several individuals to openly declare their innocence.

Read more on:    thailand

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