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Two Malaysians and one Pakistani have been arrested in Malaysia in connection with last month’s deadly bombing at the Erawan shrine in Bangkok, Thailand.
Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said they were detained a few days ago and were assisting with the investigation.
Thailand has launched a manhunt for those responsible for the bombing which killed 20 people and injured 120 on August 17.
Thai police have arrested two people and are searching for a third man, said to be from China’s Xinjiang region.
Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters on September 14 that the three suspects are a Pakistani man, a Malaysian man, and a Malaysian woman, who were arrested based on a tip-off from Thai authorities.
He said the suspects would not yet be transferred to Thailand, as Malaysian police are still investigating. He did not give further details on the reason for their detention.
No group has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the attack at the Erawan shrine, but Thailand has alleged that a network which includes foreigners was behind the bombing.
Over the weekend, Thailand issued an arrest warrant for a 27-year-old Muslim man called Abudusataer Abudureheman, also known as Ishan, from Xinjiang.
Abudusataer Abudureheman is reported to have left Bangkok for Bangladesh one day before the bomb blast, and is believed by police to have played a prominent role in the attack.
Thai authorities have already arrested two other suspects: Adem Karadag, whose nationality has yet to be verified, and Yusufu Meraili, who officials say is a Chinese national born in Xinjiang.
Xinjiang is home to a significant number of Uighur Muslims, and Chinese authorities have faced criticism for the perceived harsh restrictions placed on religion and culture in the region.
Thailand recently found itself in the spotlight following its forced repatriation of more than 100 Uighurs to China.
Yusufu Mieraili, a key suspect in the last month’s Bangkok shrine bombing, has confessed to giving a bag containing a device to the man who carried out the attack, Thai police say.
National police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri’s announcement came as Yusufu Mieraili was taken to a train station in Bangkok to re-enact the alleged handover.
The August 17 bomb attack at the Erawan Shrine killed 20 people.
Two foreign men are in custody, but the bomber himself has not been found.
The man, wearing a yellow T-shirt, was seen placing a backpack at the popular shrine and leaving, shortly before the explosion.
Prawut Thawornsiri told reporters at the Hua Lamphong station in Bangkok:
“This is the area where he met the man in a yellow shirt to exchange the backpack.”
“Yusufu said the backpack that he carried was heavy and it was a bomb,” he said.
The suspect had allegedly told police that he travelled to the station from an apartment in the outskirts of Bangkok where police had found bomb-making materials in an earlier raid.
Yusufu Mieraili, who has not been charged, was intercepted earlier this month as he attempted to cross the border into Cambodia.
Police have not confirmed his nationality but say he was carrying a Chinese passport.
Yusufu Mieraili was also taken to the Erawan Shrine as part of a police re-enactment, according to AP news agency.
On September 8, the suspect was taken to visit apartments in other parts of Bangkok where police said they found the bomb-making materials as well as passports.
Thailand’s police regularly conduct re-enactments with suspects, a practice which has been criticized as implying guilt before trial.
The other man in custody has been named by local media as Adem Karadag.
Local media have quoted police sources as saying that they are hunting for the alleged mastermind of the attack, who is thought to have left Thailand a day before the attack.
Police also released a photo of the man, who was named as 27-year-old
, also known as “Izan” or “Ishan”. Abudureheman Abudusataer
VIDEO The statue at Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine has been repaired after damages caused by last month’s deadly bomb attack in the city.
The Erawan Shrine’s centerpiece is a four-faced golden statue of the Hindu god Brahma. It was damaged in at least 12 places, most obviously the chin of one of the faces.
The shrine is also considered sacred by Thai Buddhists, and attracts many foreign visitors. The unveiling of the repaired shrine on September 4 was attended by worshippers and Thai soldiers.
The repairs were carried out by the culture ministry’s fine arts department.
At the opening ceremony, Culture Minister Vira Rojpojchanarat said the statue would help “create confidence and raise the morale of Thai people and tourists”.
People have continued to visit the shrine since it reopened shortly after the bomb blast on August 17.
Two people have been detained in connection with the blast, both foreign, and a number of arrest warrants have been issued. But no individual or group has yet claim responsibility for it.
VIDEO Thai police have arrested a second foreign suspect in connection with the deadly bombing at Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine on August 17, PM Prayuth Chan-ocha has revealed.
The male suspect was arrested in Sa Kaeo province, east of Bangkok on the border with Cambodia, Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters.
“He is a main suspect and a foreigner,” the prime minister was quoted as saying.
A foreign man was arrested in Bangkok on August 29 over the blast at Erawan Shrine, which killed 20 people.
Bomb-making materials and 10 passports were found at the apartment in Nong Jok on the outskirts of Bangkok, police said.
Thai military authorities have been interrogating him, but they have not yet released his name or nationality.
It is unclear whether either of the two arrested men are the prime suspect, who seen on a security camera leaving a backpack at the crowded shrine shortly before the bombing on August 17.
On August 31, Thai police issued arrest warrants for two suspects – a 26-year-old Thai Muslim woman, Wanna Suansan, and an unnamed foreign man.
However, a woman who claims to be Wanna Suansan told a reporter she was living in Turkey and had last been in Thailand three months ago.
Speaking to AFP news agency by telephone, Wanna Suansan said she was living in the central Turkish city of Kayseri with her husband and that she was “shocked” to have been named as a suspect.
VIDEO Thai police have cleared two men identified as suspects in the Bangkok bombing attack at the Erawan Shrine.
The two men, a Chinese tourist and his Thai guide, were filmed by security cameras standing near the prime suspect in August 17 blast at the Erawan Shrine, which killed 20 people.
A police spokesman said they were now satisfied the men were not involved.
The main suspect remains at large, but authorities said they believe he is still in Thailand.
Dozens of people were injured in Monday’s explosion, with some losing limbs.
Police had said that at least 10 people were suspected of involvement in the attack, and that their prime target was foreign.
The two former suspects were captured standing in front of the main suspect as he left his backpack under a bench at the scene.
The footage led police to believe the pair may have been the attacker’s accomplices.
One of the men “met police and was released”, according to police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri.
He told them he had taken the Chinese man to the Erawan shrine on behalf of a mutual friend.
Earlier reports suggested both of the men had presented themselves for questioning.
The Chinese national returned home a day after the bomb, Prawut Thavornsiri said.
Neither were “likely involved”, he added.
Earlier, Col. Winthai Suvaree, a spokesman for the ruling military junta, said the preliminary conclusion was that it was “unlikely” the attack was the work of an international terror group.
However, he later told Associated Press that a global terrorism link had not been ruled out, saying:
“We still have to investigate in more detail.”
Police are also questioning a tuk-tuk taxi driver who drove the main suspect to the shrine, but are making slow progress in identifying the name and nationality of the man in yellow.
Twelve of the 20 dead in Monday’s attack were foreigners, including nationals from China, Hong Kong, the UK, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Thai police have released a sketch of the main suspect in the bomb attack that killed 20 people at Bangkok’s Erawan shrine on August 17.
According to Thailand’s chief of police, the attack was carried out by a “network”.
The man, dressed in a yellow T-shirt, was filmed by security cameras leaving a backpack at the shrine.
Erawan Hindu shrine, popular with tourists and Buddhists, reopened on August 19.
Thai police chief Somyot Poompanmoung told the Associated Press news agency on August 19 that the shrine attack was the work of more than one person.
“He didn’t do it alone for sure,” he said, referring to the main suspect.
“It’s a network,” he added, without giving further information.
Somyot Poompanmoung said he was certain that Thai citizens were involved in the bombing, but could not confirm if the bomber was a foreigner or a Thai citizen in disguise.
The prime minister has meanwhile urged the main suspect to surrender to the police because he might otherwise “get killed to stop him from talking”.
PM Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters the man must have been hired to plant the bomb.
The shrine reopened at about 08:00 local time, with a handful of people arriving to place flowers or light incense in front of the slightly damaged statue of the Hindu god Brahma.
Most of the victims of Monday’s attack were Thai, but nationals from China, Hong Kong, the UK, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore were among the foreigners killed.
No-one has yet said they carried out the attack.
In a separate attack on August 18, an explosive device was thrown at a pier in Bangkok. No-one was hurt, but the authorities have not ruled out a link between the incidents.
Thai authorities have released a video footage showing the key suspect in the deadly bomb attack near Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine.
The footage, from a security camera, shows a man in a yellow shirt leaving a backpack in the Erawan Hindu shrine.
At least 20 people died in the attack on August 17. About half of the victims were foreigners.
More than other 120 people were injured in the attack.
In a separate attack on August 18, an explosive device was thrown at a pier in Bangkok, but no-one was hurt.
Nationals from China, Hong Kong, the UK, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are among the foreigners killed in Monday’s attack.
Still images of the suspect had already been released.
In the new footage, he is shown carefully and deliberately removing his backpack inside the shrine, getting up without it and immediately leaving the scene.
“There is a suspect… we are looking for this guy,” PM Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters.
Authorities were “quite close” to identifying the suspect, Thai government spokesman Maj. Gen. Weerachon Sukhontapatipak said.
However, other leads were also being pursued.
The spokesman said no motive was being ruled out, but that the bomber did not appear to be Thai and the character of the bombing was “quite different” from previous bombings by southern Thai insurgents.
He said security at transport hubs and tourist sites was being beefed up.
The bomb was detonated at about 19:00 local time on August 17 when the shrine, and the nearby Ratchaprasong junction, were crowded.
PM Prayuth Chan-ocha called it the “worst ever attack” on Thailand.
“There have been minor bombs or just noise, but this time they aim for innocent lives. They want to destroy our economy, our tourism.”
In Tuesday’s incident, a device – possibly a grenade – was reportedly thrown at the busy Sathorn pier in Bangkok.
It landed in water where it exploded harmlessly, but police said it could have caused many injuries.
Monday’s bomb was clearly placed to cause maximum casualties.
In currency trading, the Thai baht fell to its lowest level in six years over concerns about the impact on tourism.
National police chief Somyot Poompummuang described the device as a 6.6lb pipe bomb – an improvised device where explosive material is put in a sealed cavity to maximize the explosive impact.
Erawan shrine is dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma, but is also visited by thousands of Buddhists each day.