By Suriya Patathayo,
A YOUNG SUSPECT has confessed to his alleged involvement in the Phuket bombings – part of a deadly spate of arson and bomb attacks in seven provinces on August 11 and 12 – police investigating the case said yesterday.
Muhammad Muhi, who is in his 20s, was initially arrested by the Army and handed over to police. He has been held at the Nakhon Si Thammarat Correctional Institution for Young Offenders since October 20.
Following an initial report of his confession, deputy national police chief Pol General Sriwara Rangsipramanakul led a team to further interrogate Muhammad, a native of Pattani’s Nong Chik district.
Muhammad, who had initially maintained his innocence, was yesterday presented with his previous testimony and reported confession. The suspect appeared stressed, nervously touching his face and speaking incoherently. At one point, he burst into tears.
After an hour, he allegedly confessed to conspiring with others in planting bombs in Phuket and admitted to placing one bomb himself at the Paradise Market in Patong Beach. The Phuket devices were safely detonated by a bomb squad, with no injuries
Sriwara said he was satisfied with progress made in the investigation. Police are now awaiting court approval next week for Muhammad to be taken back to the scene to re-enact his crime.
Of the 11 men wanted in connection with the August 11-12 attacks, which killed four people and injured dozens, three are in custody – Muhammad, Trang arson suspect Abdul-Kadae Salae and Nakhon Si Thammarat bombing suspect Hakeem Doloh.
Those still at large include Phuket bombing suspects Yusoh Maetimoh and Ahama Lengha, Phang Nga firebomb suspect Sukiman Kubaru, and Hua Hin bombing suspects Russaran Baima, Asmeen Katemmahdi and Seri Waemamu. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan clarified that a letter urging schools in Bangkok’s Sathon district to watch out for car bombs was out of date.
“It’s nothing, just an old document. The authorities are trying to stay on top of things so people don’t need to worry,” he said, adding that the information stemmed from a warning in early October of possible attacks in Bangkok and adjacent provinces. However, he said schools should remain vigilant.
Prawit’s comment was in response to a news report about a warning letter, dated October 28, for Sathon schools to watch out for a Honda Accord sedan and a black Mitsubishi Titan pickup truck that might be used in a possible attack.
Deputy police spokesman Pol Colonel Krissana Phattanacharoen reiterated that the letter from the Sathon District Office to schools stemmed from an old warning. He said there were no indications of a new attack plot, so people should not panic.