Bangkok blast: CCTV footage retraces steps of suspect who entered temple shortly before attack

BANGKOK (Reuters/AFP) - Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of a man who entered a Bangkok temple shortly before a blast that killed 22 people could shed light on who was behind the unprecedented attack.

The video, taken from cameras near the glittering Hindu shrine in the city's bustling commercial hub on Monday, shows the young and slightly built man, whom the authorities have identified as a suspect, in a bright yellow T-shirt with an indiscernible motif and shorts.

He walks calmly into the tourist attraction with a backpack and then sits down.

Moments later, he takes the backpack off, stands up and walks out holding only a blue plastic bag and what appears to be a mobile phone. The rucksack is left by a fence as tourists mill around, taking photographs of a statue of the Hindu god Brahma.

Footage taken from a different angle shows the man, with shaggy, black hair and wearing what appear to be wrist bands, leaving the temple and heading towards the upscale Grand Hyatt Erawan hotel, just yards away.

The time stamp on the video at that point is just after 6.40pm.

National police spokesman Prawut Thavorn said the man left the scene aboard a motorcycle taxi, which are common in Bangkok, and the blast occurred three minutes later.

"It is quite clear that he is the perpetrator in this case," Mr Thavorn told local television station Channel 3, adding the police were also trying to track down the motorcycle taxi driver.

But Mr Thavorn and other security chiefs did not reveal if they had any motives for the attack.

The bomb went off during rush hour on Monday as tourists prayed at the shrine and office workers were commuting home.

The explosion, which was heard just before 7pm, unleashed havoc. Early responders and journalists who arrived at the scene were confronted with scenes of blood-smeared pavements, shattered glass and pieces of human flesh.

No group has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack. The military government said it had not ruled out any group but has yet to publicly offer any plausible answers.