Detainee in Bangkok bombing 'confesses' he planted the bomb

Adem Karadag has allegedly admitted planting the explosive device that claimed 20 lives last month.
Adem Karadag has allegedly admitted planting the explosive device that claimed 20 lives last month.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BANGKOK • The foreigner arrested in connection with the Erawan Shrine bombing last month is said to have confessed that he planted the device that killed 20 people and injured 100 others.

Adem Karadag, or Bilal Muhammed, told police that after he left his backpack containing the explosive device at the shrine, he hired a motorcycle taxi to Lumpini Park, according to a source familiar with the police investigation.

Karadag then removed his wig, glasses and armbands before changing into different clothes, according to the source.

Police investigators studied security camera recordings from Aug 17 that show a man who looks like the alleged bomber entering a toilet in Lumpini Park, a few minutes' ride from Erawan Shrine.

The video footage shows a man in a yellow T-shirt.

Police took Karadag to different locations associated with the bomb attack to confirm his confession, according to the source.

The man has become more cooperative with the investigators and has given them more helpful information, the source said.

Meanwhile, Karadag's lawyer Choochart Khanpai said his client has insisted he is not the bomber.

He told the Bangkok Post on Thursday that reports that his client had confessed to being the yellow-shirted suspect were unlikely to be true. The lawyer added that his client is small with sloping shoulders and is unlikely to be the man with broad shoulders seen in the video footage.

National police chief Somyot Poompanmuang declined on Thursday to confirm that Karadag was the bomber.

But he said police had evidence to prove it. "I believe police have evidence, but I can't disclose anything further about this."

He said the suspects had enough bomb-making materials to make over 10 explosive devices. "If all those 10 explosive devices had been planted, they would have caused massive damage to Thailand."

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said on Thursday that DNA tests would be needed to confirm that Karadag was the bomber.

"He might have confessed because there was evidence tying him to the scene, but we still need to investigate further. His account does not confirm anything," General Prawit was reported as saying in the Post.

According to him, more evidence should be sought to determine the real motive behind the shrine bombing as well as any other networks involved.

Metropolitan Police chief Sriwara Rangsiphramanakul said the investigation into the case was 90 per cent complete.

Mr Choochart also said he has not been able to meet his client for two days, the Post reported.

The prison guards said Karadag was ill with a cold and could not eat, the lawyer told the Post. He said he will try to meet his client on Monday to ask him about the confession.

THE NATION

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2015, with the headline 'Detainee in Bangkok bombing 'confesses''. Print Edition | Subscribe