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The hunt for the Bangkok bomber - what we know so far

The man, who “didn’t act alone”, “might be foreign or Thai” according to police.

Updated 11.21 am

PastedImage-75626 Source: Thailand Police

THAI POLICE ARE searching for this man who they believe left a backpack bomb at a Bangkok shrine that exploded amid a crowd of worshippers, killing 20 people and wounding more than 100 others.

No one has claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack, which occurred at the Erawan shrine in one of the Thai capital’s popular tourism and upscale shopping districts.

Here is what we know about the investigation:

Thailand Explosion Source: AP

Thai police are offering a reward for information on bombing suspects.

Police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri says in a tweet that 1 million baht — equivalent to €25,390 — is being offered for any word on bomber or bombers suspected of planting the explosive device that went off at a downtown shrine on a busy Monday evening.

Thailand Explosion Source: AP

Here’s what we know so far:

What do we know about the suspected bomber?

The first glimpse came a day after the blast when police disclosed grainy security footage of a man casually walking into the shrine with a backpack on. He sits on a bench close to some iron railings that surround the shrine, puts the rucksack under a bench and slowly walks away while apparently looking at his smartphone. Police said he left on a motorcycle taxi, a common form of transport in Thailand.

Minutes later a bomb, packed with ball-bearings, explodes in that exact spot.

Is the bomber acting alone?

Police are increasingly confident the man seen on Monday night must have had accomplices, both to build the devices and plan the attack.

“It’s a network,” national police chief General Somyot Poompanmoung told reporters on Wednesday. “We believe there must be people helping him, Thai people.”

“There must be a network,” added Thai junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha Wednesday. “He can’t just buy the bomb in a market and then place it.”

Prawut said officers were focusing on two people seen in the security footage who may have shielded the prime suspect as he dropped his deadly cargo under the bench.

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In the evening, national police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said the prime suspect had been overheard speaking a “foreign language, not English” and might hail from South, Central Asia or the Middle East.

Thailand Explosion

Who has suspicion fallen on?

Many groups have been discussed as potential culprits, but security experts say there are strong reasons to discount each and are baffled over who is responsible. These include political rivals, Muslim insurgents,
Chinese Uighur militants and Isis.

What about the second attack?

On Tuesday, shortly after 1:00 pm, one or more people threw an explosive device from a bridge into a canal near the busy Saphan Taksin Skytrain station. No one was harmed.

Police have yet to decide whether the two incidents are linked.

Colonel Kamthorn Ouicharoen, head of Bangkok’s bomb squad, told reporters both devices were “exactly the same”.

But police chief Somyot Poompanmoung has said that attack could also be an unrelated or “copycat” act.

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