Wednesday 21 March 2018

Bangkok shrine bombing: Broken security cameras hinder probe

People light candles near the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok (AP)
People light candles near the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok (AP)

An investigation into a fatal bomb blast in Thailand last week has been hampered by broken security cameras in central Bangkok along the main suspect's getaway route.

Police said officers are trying to "put pieces of the puzzle together" but have had to use their imagination to fill the holes where street security cameras were broken and unable to record the suspect's movements.

A spokesman said: "Sometimes there are 20 cameras on the street but only five work." He added: "We have had to waste time to put the dots together."

Last Monday's bombing at the Erawan Shrine in central Bangkok left 20 people dead and more than 120 injured.

Police have released an artist's impression of the prime suspect who is seen on security footage leaving a backpack at a bench inside the open-air shrine and walking away. The explosion takes place 15 minutes later.

Police said yesterday they would "need some luck" to track down the suspect, while other police officials said they believe he had already left the country.

The police spokesman added that Thailand has "asked for co-operation from countries with better equipment and technology".

On Friday, prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said that he had received offers of assistance from the US embassy in Bangkok and had assigned his deputy "to co-operate on borrowing equipment that includes facial-recognition technology".

However, he ruled out working with US investigators, insisting Thais can do the job.

Police later said a worker digging at a Bangkok construction site found a grenade buried in the ground. A specialist explosives squad was sent to defuse it.

Police Lt Sakon Rungkiatpaisarn said the grenade appeared to have been buried for a while and authorities "do not think it has anything to do with (last Monday's) bombing".

The grenade was found in a residential area far from the city centre.

Press Association

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