Bangkok shrine bombers first targeted pier for Chinese tourists

Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:12pm GMT
 

Police have issued arrest warrants for 15 other suspects, many of whom are thought to be Turkish or in Turkey. Thai police turned down repeated requests by Reuters for information about the investigation. National police chief Jakthip Chaijinda declined several interview requests.

The military indictment, which Reuters reviewed, accuses the men of planting the first bomb at the Chao Phraya Princess Pier where hundreds of Chinese tourists gather each day to board dinner cruises along the river.

It failed to detonate, and after two or three hours, was taken away by a blue-shirted figure later identified in an arrest warrant as an "Asian man".

He was then caught on security cameras further upriver, kicking a bag thought to contain the bomb into the water. It exploded harmlessly the next day.

The Erawan shrine bomb went off at around 7 p.m. on Aug. 17, killing mostly Chinese or ethnic Chinese tourists. Kamthorn believes the bomb "might not have happened" had the bomb at the pier functioned.

HIGHER CASUALTIES

Assuming it was a target on Aug. 17, the pier would "certainly make sense" because it caters almost exclusively to tour groups mainly from China, said Anthony Davis, a Bangkok-based analyst at security consulting firm IHS-Jane's.

"Had a device similar to that used at the Erawan Shrine exploded there, casualties would almost certainly have been significantly higher and overwhelmingly from mainland China," he said.   Continued...

Chinese tourists dine onboard a boat at a pier at Chao Phraya River in Bangkok February 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
 
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