Thai police are to reward the investigative team that helped find the Bangkok bombing suspect with a cash reward that had been offered to the public. The 3m baht (£55,000, $84,000) reward offered for information leading to the capture of any bombing suspects is to be given to the police team, Police Chief Somyot Poompanmouang told reporters.
He said it was the diligence and hard work of the police that led to the capture of the suspect currently in custody. It remains unclear whether the landlady who owned the apartment where the suspect was captured and phoned the police with her suspicions will receive any of the reward.
Thai police initially told reporters that a tip-off from a landlord had led them to the suspect. But other officials later were quoted anonymously in the Thai media, saying police analysis of mobile phone records had led them to the man.
Meanwhile, Army Chief Udomdej Sitabutr told reporters on 31 August that the suspect had given army interrogators the names of three accomplices. Sitabutr said the suspect was interrogated in a "gentle and cautious way". Police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said that the ongoing and expanded investigation has led to several searches of properties in Bangkok.
The police said that one search found bomb-making material at an apartment not far from where the first suspect was captured. Among the seized matter was black powder, fertiliser, fuses, timers and a remote control car.
Thavornsiri revealed pictures of two new suspects that had been renting the property, an unidentified Asian man and a Thai woman shown wearing a hijab. Warrants have now been issued for the arrest of both. It is noteworthy, that the Asian man may bear some resemblance to the individual already in custody.
Meanwhile, the Thai authorities are facing down criticism after warning the media and the public not to spread further a photograph of a suicide vest which was aired on national television on 30 August.
All Thai television channels carried a brief broadcast by the military junta at 6 pm on 29 August announcing the arrest of a suspect in connection with the bombing. The broadcast featured a purported picture of the suspect and of what the army said were seized materials linked to bomb-making, as well as a stack of Turkish passports. But a vest with bulging pockets connected by wires was also displayed. Reporters and others on social media quickly noted that the image was taken from a March 2013 online blog by the US Transportation Security Administration.
Later the Thai police tweeted to say that the vest had nothing to do with the investigation and that anyone republishing it online could face charges under the Computer Crime Act. The Thai authorities have not elaborated on how the image became intermingled with the photos supposedly taken at the suspect's apartment.
The mystery over the photograph is only the latest confusing element in the investigation. Immediately after the arrest of the suspect currently in custody the police said he was Turkish but then backtracked when it was pointed out the picture they released of his passport was a forgery.
The Thai authorities also made conflicting statements on 30 August and 31 August about whether they believed the suspect in custody was the man seen on CCTV images leaving a package at the Hindu shrine in central Bangkok just prior to the explosion.
In another of the many twists to the investigation the Thai national police chief, Police General Somyot Pumpanmuang, told reporters on the evening of 29 August that the attacks were "not an international terrorist act". Instead the motive by the main culprit was "taking personal revenge for his comrades," he said. But he did not elaborate as to how authorities had quickly reached that conclusion.
Human Rights Watch and other groups have expressed concern following the 17 August bombing about how the lack of legitimate political, security and judicial authority in a country under military government could undermine public trust in the investigation's outcome. On social media Thai citizens have questioned the credibility of the police and army teams conducting the investigation.
The explosion at Bangkok's Erawan Shrine on 17 Aug killed 20 people and injured more than 130 others.