Thai police say the fingerprints of a foreign man arrested at Thailand’s border with Cambodia match those they found on a bottle containing bomb-making material, agencies report.
The bottle was among many items seized during a raid Saturday of an apartment on the outskirts of Bangkok where another suspect was arrested as part of the investigation into the deadly Aug. 17 bombing at the Erawan shrine.
“The man… may be the person who took the bomb out of the room or brought the bomb to the location of the incident,” National police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said on TV.
Both suspects are being interrogated by the military and have not yet been charged.
Thavornsiri said the man arrested at the border on Tuesday “is important and is related to or conspired with people” behind the bombing that killed 20 people and wounded more than 120.
According to Reuters, the unidentified man arrested at Thai border told police he was not the bomber, but he was in same area when a massive explosion killed 20 people.
“It’s natural that the suspect will deny he did it, but we still have to continue to look into that,” deputy national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda told reporters.
“Right now, the case has progressed about 70 percent already.”
An arrest warrant was issued on Wednesday for a Turkish man who police believed was in his home country. He is married to a Thai woman currently in Turkey who was in contact with Thai authorities.
She had rented a room in a second Bangkok building raided by police, where bomb-making materials were found.
Police have received a torrent of criticism for leading a patchy probe and statements from top officials about possible perpetrators, motives and information extracted from suspects have been contradictory, speculative and often cryptic.
The investigation has gained momentum since the weekend raids, before which the authorities had little more than a low-resolution surveillance camera video of a man in a yellow shirt leaving a rucksack at the popular Erawan Hindu shrine moments before the blast.
With no claim of responsibility, speculation has centered on sympathizers of Uighur Muslims, opponents of the military government, southern ethnic Malay rebels and foreign extremists.
Thailand’s forced repatriation of 109 Uighurs to China in July caused international outrage and saw protesters smash windows and ransack parts of the Thai consulate in Istanbul. Many Uighurs transit through Southeast Asia to try to get to Turkey, which has a large diaspora.
Though many details remain unknown, a connection with Turkey has been established. It is unclear if the two detained men are Turkish but police have been interrogating them though a Turkish translator and fake Turkish passports were seized in one raid.
Thailand’s army chief and defense minister left for a three-day visit to China on Wednesday but said it was a scheduled trip unrelated to the investigation.