Second suspect found with chemical formula used to make explosives, police say
He was arrested trying to travel across Thai-Cambodia border
Police say they're trying to determine if he's the chief suspect caught on video before the attack
Thai police have said a second suspect arrested in connection with last month’s deadly bombing at a Bangkok shrine was carrying a piece of paper with a chemical formula used to make explosives written on it.
Speaking Thursday, National Police spokesman Prawut Thavonsiri said they believe the formula is based on acetone, a volatile and flammable substance.
“These mix of chemicals you can easily obtain anywhere legally, but when you combine them, they become a chemical that is quick to catch fire and can be developed to become a detonator,” he said.
“This formula can also be used to enlarge the radius of the bomb. It could be used for both of the bombings. But when the bomb detonates, this element (if used in the bomb) would disappear immediately because it’s an amplifier.”
The same suspect’s fingerprints also matched those taken from possible bomb-making material found at an apartment in Bangkok at the weekend, police said Wednesday. He was apprehended on Tuesday trying to cross the border into Cambodia.
On Thursday, Thai military authorities identified him as Yusufu Meerailee and named the other suspect in custody as Adem Karadak. Police said the two men shared the apartment in the capital where Karadak was caught on Saturday.
Both men had been traveling on false documents, according to the authorities.
National Police General Chakthip Chaijinda said at a briefing Wednesday that the second suspect – Meerailee – spoke Turkish and that the interrogation was conducted through a translator.
He added that they are still trying to determine whether he is the man pictured on surveillance video wearing a yellow T-shirt and dark-framed glasses, minutes before the August 17 bombing at the Erawan shrine that killed 20 people and injured numerous others. Police believe this man is the chief suspect in the attack.
Turkey’s Embassy in Bangkok issued a statement Thursday saying it had requested clarification about whether the first suspect arrested on Saturday is a Turkish citizen, and about media reports relating to the discovery of Turkish passports. It said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand replied, saying the “investigation is still ongoing and that the nationality of the suspects is not yet verified.”
New name revealed
Meanwhile, another suspect wanted in connection with the shrine attack has been named by police.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Emrah Davutoglu, the husband of a previously named suspect, on suspicion of organizing and providing accommodation to other suspects, Prawut said Wednesday.
Davutoglu and his wife, Wanna Suansan, 26, of Thailand are believed to have left the country at the same time, Prawut said, without elaborating on the timetable or their whereabouts.
Thai police previously said Wanna’s husband is Turkish. But Prawut did not comment Wednesday on Davutoglu’s citizenship.
Davutoglu and Wanna are among eight people for whom Thai police have issued arrest warrants in connection with the August 17 bombing at Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine, Prawut said.
Second weekend raid
As for Davutoglu’s wife, Wanna, Thai police said this week that they were looking for her after authorities found bomb-making materials Sunday in a Bangkok-area apartment allegedly connected to her.
Her mother told police that she left Thailand two months ago “to stay with her husband in Turkey,” police Col. Saharat Saksilapachai said Monday.
Wanna has contacted Thai police through social media and denied any involvement, police said. She admitted renting an apartment room in Bangkok, though she said she gave it up almost a year ago, according to police.
She said she’s in Turkey with her baby and husband, who is Turkish, according to Saharat.
Authorities said Wednesday that Wanna is considering whether she is willing to return to Thailand to face accusations.
When Thai police announced Monday they were seeking Wanna, they released a sketch of an unidentified man, with dark hair and a mustache, whom they are also looking for in the case. Police said Monday that the man was not Wanna’s husband but did not reveal much else about him.
Journalist Kiki Dhavitat contributed to this report.