Bangkok bombing suspect nabbed, but security questions remain

THAILAND — After Thai authorities arrested a foreign man they said had been holed up in a suburban apartment with bomb-making equipment and stacks of passports — the first possible breakthrough in the deadly bombing at a Bangkok shrine nearly two weeks ago —police say they have now discovered bomb-making materials during a raid of a second apartment on the outskirts of the capital.

National police spokesman Prawuth Thavornsiri said that police found fertiliser, gun powder, digital clocks and remote-controlled cars whose parts can be used for detonation, among other items, during a raid over the weekend at an apartment in Bangkok’s Min Buri district.

“These are bomb-making materials,” Prawuth said. “Nobody would keep urea fertiliser and gunpowder unless they wanted to make a bomb.”

Min Buri is near the neighborhood where police on Saturday arrested an unnamed foreigner and seized a trove of bomb-making equipment that included detonators, ball bearings and a metal pipe they believe was intended to hold a bomb.

Prawuth said police were looking to issue three or four more arrest warrants but declined to give more details.

Saturday’s arrest was the first possible breakthrough in the investigation into the 17 August blast at the Erawan Shrine, which killed 20 people, more than half of whom were foreigners, and injured more than 120 others.

Much remains unknown about the suspect, including his nationality, his motive, his relationship to the alleged bombing network or if he was plotting an attack, Prawuth said, adding that another attack was “possible” because police found 10 detonators.

The attack has raised concerns about safety in a city that draws millions of tourists, especially since the police conceded they had ‘problems’ with the city’s CCTVs.