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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bangkok - Suspect 'confesses' he planted shrine bomb

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Police looking for clinching evidence to prove Adem Karadag was the bomber in yellow t-shirt.

 ADEM KARADAG, the foreigner arrested late last month in connection with the Erawan Shrine bombing, has confessed that he was the man who planted the explosive device that killed 20 people and injured 100 others on August 17.

Karadag, or Bilal Muhammed, has confessed that he was the man who planted the bomb at the shrine, according to a source familiar with the ongoing police investigation.

He told police that after placing his backpack containing the explosive device at the shrine, he hired a motorcycle taxi to Lumpini Park. He then removed his wig, glasses and armbands before changing into new clothes, according to the source.

Police investigators have studied security-camera recordings that show a man who looked like the bomber entering a toilet in Lumpini Park, which is just a few minutes' ride from Erawan Shrine.

The video showed the man caught on CCTV in a yellow T-shirt before and after he entered the toilet.

Police took Karadag to different locations associated with the bomb attack to confirm his confession, according to the source.

Investigators found that Karadag looked like the man in the video who went to Lumpini Park to change his clothes, the source said.

The man has become more cooperative with the investigators and has given them more information that was helpful to the probe, the source said.

Meanwhile, Karadag's lawyer, Chuchart Kanpai, yesterday said his client has insisted that he is not the bomber. He challenged the police claim that Karadag has confessed that he had planted the bomb.

National police chief General Somyot Poompanmuang yesterday declined to confirm that Karadag was the bomber. But he said he believed the police had evidence to prove so.

"For me, Thai police are the best in the world. I believe police have evidence, but I can't disclose anything further about this," he said.

The police chief said that judging from the amount of bomb-making materials found in possession of the suspects in this case, it appeared they were making more than 10 explosive devices. It was fortunate for Thailand that those people were arrested before the bombs were planted, he added.

"If all those 10 explosive devices had been planted, they would have caused massive damage to Thailand. Thanks to all the sacred beings, the country was spared from disaster," Somyot said.

However, he also said that despite Karadag's confession, investigators would still need confirmation with more clinching evidence.

"The investigators are confident that Adem was the bomber but they still cannot be conclusive from the CCTV images," Somyot said.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said yesterday that DNA tests would be required to confirm that Karadag was the bomber.

He said that the authorities were not attempting to close the case and that it should be dealt with in accordance with evidence.

He said the confession could not prove that the man was the real bomber.

Metropolitan Police chief Lt-General Sriwara Rangsiphra-manakul yesterday said the investigation into the case was 90 per cent complete.

Commenting on Karadag's reported confession, he said that the investigators would need more evidence to strengthen their case against the suspect, as confession was insufficient to prove in court.

Source: The Nation

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