BANGKOK: Red-shirt anger over political link to blast

Police chief tones down claim after criticism; lawyer doubt

A CONCLUSION reached by police concerning the prime suspect in the deadly Erawan Shrine blast and the implication that domestic political conflicts may have been behind the attack were vehemently questioned yesterday, while the country’s police chief seemed to back off from the latter assertion.

Two core red-shirt leaders, Nuttawut Saikuar and Worachai Hema lashed out at national police chief Pol General Somyot Poompanmuang’s statement that pointed the finger at a Thai suspect, Yongyut Pobkaew, who is believed to be linked to the red-shirt movement.

Somyot alleged at a press conference on Monday that Yongyut – also known as Aod Payungwong, one of 17 suspects wanted in connection with the August 17 explosion at the shrine – was involved in explosions when demonstrators protested in 2010 against the Abhisit government, and last year against Yingluck’s administration.

“I want to call for the national police chief to tell the truth to the public. I don’t know Mr Aod but his name suddenly popped up out of nowhere. No one said how he got involved in the case. The public also wonders how can Mr Aod who was under several arrest warrants has no history or even a 13-digit identity card,” Nuttawut said.

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