Malaysia arrests 6, says they may have aided Bangkok bomber

2015-09-23 14:00
Thai police escort a suspect after he was arrested in the Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo province on the Thai side of the Cambodian border. (Thairath, AFP)

Thai police escort a suspect after he was arrested in the Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo province on the Thai side of the Cambodian border. (Thairath, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia has arrested six people suspected of being part of a human trafficking network and who may have helped a bomber who killed 20 people at a Bangkok shrine last month escape from Thailand, police said on Wednesday.

The suspects joined two people already in Malaysian detention who may have helped the bomber, who Thai police said was a foreigner of unknown identity, flee across southern Thailand's border with Malaysia, police in both countries said.

Four of the six people arrested last week were believed to be minority Uighur Muslims, who come from China's far western Xinjiang region, said Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, director of the Malaysian police counter-terrorism unit.

Thai police have made two arrests over the Aug. 17 blast, Thailand's worst ever bombing, that killed 20 people, including 14 foreigners, seven from Hong Kong and mainland China.

The chief suspect is a man in a yellow shirt caught on security camera footage leaving a backpack at the shrine. He was implicated by a man in Thai detention who admitted to delivering the bag containing the bomb to him, police say.

Ayob told Reuters the six were not directly linked to the bombing but to a human-trafficking gang.


"We believe that they facilitated the movement of the yellow-shirt man but we cannot confirm since it is an ongoing investigation," Ayob said.

Malaysia's arrests are the latest pieces in a puzzle pointing toward a connection to Uighurs that Thai authorities have sought to play down.

Thai police have ruled out a political motive linked to Uighurs for the blast, suggesting instead the reason was that a human trafficking gang was angered by a police crackdown.

A Thai police investigator who had just returned from Malaysia confirmed the suspected bomber was not among the latest suspects, who were likely part of the trafficking network.

The Uighur issue could be a thorny one for Thailand and any substantive link between the bombing and Thailand's forced repatriation of 109 Uighurs at China's behest in July could result in criticism that its foreign policy may have triggered the attack.

"They are not terrorists because they haven't announced what they want," Thai police spokesperson Prawut Thawornsiri told reporters on Wednesday.

Thousands of Uighurs have tried to flee China saying they face persecution, which Beijing rejects. Many use trafficking networks through Southeast Asia to Turkey, where they are largely welcomed and have ethnic and religious affinity.

Suspects believed to be Turkish and Thais living in Turkey are among those on Thailand's wanted list for the bombing.

Read more on:    malaysia  |  thailand

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.