09/29/2015, 00.00
THAILAND
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Police declare Bangkok bombing case “closed” and pocket reward. "A joke"

The police chief holds press conference awarding 3 million baht to investigating officers and responsibility of Uyghur minority. Suspicions of political links to attack. Investigations have floundered, with only two arrests and 17 suspects. The "mastermind" of the attack is still at large. AsiaNews sources: "Thais are ashamed of the police behavior".

Bangkok (AsiaNews) - It is "incredible, a huge joke. Thais are ashamed that the whole world knows this story and sees the behavior of the police": This is how an AsiaNews source in Bangkok describes the press conference held yesterday by the Thai authorities, who have declared investigations into the August 17 bombing that left 20 dead and over 100 injured "closed".

In front of the cameras, the police chief Somyot Poompunmuang (set to retire) awarded 3 million baht (82 thousand dollars) to his successor to reward officers and soldiers who participated in the investigation (see photo). The money come from donations from businessmen and the general severance pay. It is the second time in a month that police have been rewarded, while the case is far from being resolved.

"The bomb attack at the Erawan temple was in revenge for the government intervention against human traffickers," said Jan. Poompunmuang, in explicit reference to the Uyghur minority, which the chief maitians reacted to the forced extradition suffered in July.

"We also believe - he added - that behind it all there is a person or group who commissioned the attack [the Uyghurs]. Police continue to investigate. We have to analyze the possible political connections, because it could have been a commissioned crime ".

Despite the police claiming all responsibility lies with Uyghur seperatists doubts continue to shroud the attack. , Currently there are only two men in prison, Adem Karadag and Mieraili Yusufu who confessed their involvement.

Mieraili is believed to have handed the bomb to Adem Karadag who placed it near the temple, but the confessions have to be independently verified. The alleged "mastermind" of the attack, Abudusataer Abudureheman kown as “Izhan”, is still at large (perhaps in China). Thai police issued a total of 17 arrest warrants, so far not carried out.

In recent days, the Malaysian authorities have arrested three people, a Pakistani and two Malaysians, under investigation for the attack. So far they have not been extradited to Thailand.

The Thai public is confused by the police behavior: "It seems absurd that agents would declare a case closed even before the accused have been put on trial - comments the AsiaNews source. “Police announced the reward, caught an alleged offender and then pocketed the money themselves saying they will donate to the victims of the attack, but they will not. It's a joke. "

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