BANGKOK–Two Chinese Muslims are set to go on trial in 2016 on murder charges stemming from last August’s bombing that killed 20 people and injured 125. Thai authorities don’t appear eager to probe into their accomplices or motives, however. Nor will they charge the two with terrorism, despite the web of foreigners implicated in the pipe bomb explosion at a popular Hindu-Buddhist shrine in central Bangkok.
The first man to be arrested, Bilal Mohammed, originally claiming to be a Turkish citizen called Adem Karadeg, was discovered August 29 in an apartment in a Muslim neighborhood of northeastern Bangkok. In the same apartment were several hundred forged Turkish passports and a cache of bomb-making components–suggesting that more attacks might have been planned.
Only in late September did Thai police claim that 27-year-old Bilal was the “backpack bomber” himself –the yellow t-shirted man who left his pack containing a 5-kilogram pipe bomb on a bench at Erawan Shrine shortly before the explosion. According to his lawyer, Bilal has now confessed to the crime; Bilal previously said he had arrived in Thailand–with the help of traffickers–four days after the bombing. MORE
By Susan Cunningham
The most likely perpetrators of the deadly Bangkok bombing last week were militant members of a right-wing Turkish organization infuriated by the Thai government’s forcible repatriation of Uighur refugees back to China. Anthony Davis, a veteran security analyst with IHS-Jane’s, made a persuasive case for the Grey Wolves on a panel at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand Monday evening.
He did not rule out the possibility that other foreign militant Muslim organizations could be responsible for August 18 bomb at the Erawan Shrine that killed 20 people and injured 126. He found it extremely unlikely, however, that it was the work of Thai dissident political groups or even of the Muslim insurgents in southern Thailand who have waged a separatist war in three border provinces for the past decade.
Some of the strongest evidence in favor of the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves was the fury throughout Turkey that followed the Thai repatriation on July 9 of 109 Uighurs and the Grey Wolves’ visibility during the attacks on the Thai Embassy in Istanbul. A violent wing of the loosely organized pan-Turkic organization in recent years has taken up the cause of the Uighurs. MORE