A Chinese national was behind the plot to bomb the Erawan Shrine and has already fled the country, one of the suspects in custody revealed Monday, The Nation reports.
Yusufu Mieraili, who was arrested in the border province of Sa Kaew last week, implicated a Chinese man and described him as the mastermind behind the blast.
“His name is Izan,” Mieraili was quoted as saying. “He left Thailand via Suvarnabhumi Airport August 16.”
He admitted to delivering the backpack containing the bomb to the yellow-shirted suspect who left it in the Ratchaprasong area, causing the deadly explosion on Aug 17 .
Based on the suspect’s testimony, six people were involved in the Erawan Shrine blast and the Sathorn Pier bomb. The alleged accomplices were Izan, Mieraili, Adem Karadag, the man in the yellow T-shirt, a man in a blue shirt and another unidentified foreigner.
According to the source, Izan contacted Mieraili and other alleged accomplices via the WhatsApp chat application, adding that the accomplices did not know each other.
The source said Mieraili was in charge of bomb making, and had procured materials via the Internet, adding that the suspect was also instructed to put the bomb inside a backpack and place it under a bench along the Phadung Krung Kasem Canal on August 17.
Authorities are yet to identify the man in yellow T-shirt, captured on CCTV leaving a backpack under a bench in the shrine compound.
The bomb inside the backpack exploded, killing 20 people and injuring more than 120 others. The man in the yellow T-shirt is yet to be identified.
The man in the blue shirt was seen kicking a bag believed to contain a bomb into a canal near Sathorn Pier. That bomb exploded the following day without causing any casualty.
The source said Mieraili was in the neighborhood when the Erawan Shrine blast happened, because Izan wanted him to record the incident and send photographs via WhatsApp.
However, authorities say Mieraili did not take pictures because he was worried he might arouse suspicion.
Mieraili was handed over to police Monday, after spending the past week in military custody.
Arrested on August 26 for possession of bomb-making materials, Karadag is being detained in Min Buri Prison.
So far, 11 arrest warrants have been issued, some with sketches of unidentified suspects. Of those wanted for the Bangkok bombings, one is a Thai woman, Wanna Suansan, whose Turkish husband, Emrah Davutoglu, is also a suspect.
The two new arrest warrants issued Monday are for Abdullah Abdul Rahman, who is about 180 centimeters tall, and a man who is about 175 centimeters tall.
The warrant for the unnamed suspect is based on a photograph of him that was obtained from a department store in Min Buri district. Both were seen in the apartment where bomb-making materials were found stored.
Deputy National Police Commissioner Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda said the man in the yellow T-shirt and the man in the blue shirt had been active in a neighboring country.
The explosion at the shrine is described as the worst such attack on Thai soil.