Family of Thai bomb suspect tells her not to return

Thailand's national police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri holds a tablet displaying a picture of Wanna Suansan, 26, wanted for questioning after bomb making materials were found in a Bangkok apartment she allegedly rented, at the police headquarters in
Thailand's national police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri holds a tablet displaying a picture of Wanna Suansan, 26, wanted for questioning after bomb making materials were found in a Bangkok apartment she allegedly rented, at the police headquarters in central Bangkok on Aug 31, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

PHANG NGA (Thailand) • The family of the only Thai suspect named in the Erawan shrine bombing has urged her not to return to Thailand, fearing she will be made a scapegoat by police, the Bangkok Post reported.

Police have said Wanna Suansant's name was on the rental contract for a room at the Maimuna Garden Home apartment in Bangkok's Min Buri district, where urea-based fertiliser and other bomb-making materials were discovered in a raid late last month. The bombing on Aug 17 killed 20 people.

Wanna's husband, Turkish national Emrah Davutoglu, is suspected of helping to organise the bombing. Phuket airport immigration authorities said the couple left for Dubai with their one-year-old son on July 1. They are now believed to be in Turkey.

HARD TO BELIEVE

There is no way that my sister would be part of such an operation. I know how my sister is; she would never do that.

ICHA SUANSANT, older brother of Thai suspect Wanna Suansant, who said he had used the Line chat app to talk to his sister, who is believed to be in Turkey

"There is no way that my sister would be part of such an operation. I know how my sister is; she would never do that," Wanna's older brother Icha Suansant was quoted as saying at the family's home in the southern Thai province of Phang Nga last week.

Mr Icha said that he had used the Line chat application to talk to his sister after a warrant was issued for her arrest. But he said she has since deleted her account and was no longer in contact with the family.

Mr Dum Suansant, another brother of Wanna, said she had called to explain why her name was on the rental contract.

Wanna reportedly said that the manager of the apartment had asked her to act as a reference for her husband's friend, who wanted to rent the room but could not speak Thai.

She apparently obliged and gave her telephone number, which police used as evidence in their application for an arrest warrant, Bangkok Post reported. "I trust my sister, but I don't fully trust her husband," Mr Dum said.

The family said they knew little about Davutoglu, who married Wanna in 2013 in a religious ceremony which was not legally recognised. Mr Icha expressed fear for his sister's safety, but said their family would prefer that Wanna stay in Turkey because they lacked confidence in the ability of Thai police to achieve justice.

Thai police said they are building a case that increasingly points to Davutoglu's role in the attack.

Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) chief Seehanat Prayoonrat revealed last Friday that Davutoglu had received 156,106 baht (S$6,121) on Feb 17 and 157,646 baht on March 17 through overseas transfers.

Another 410,000 baht was put into his account on April 7.

The money was gradually withdrawn until the end of June, Police Colonel Seehanat said.

On Aug 27, a further 14,495 baht was transferred into the account. Amlo said the money was withdrawn but has revealed no details regarding how, or by whom, reported the Bangkok Post.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2015, with the headline 'Family of Thai bomb suspect tells her not to return'. Print Edition | Subscribe