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Thai police release sketch of suspect in Bangkok blast

world Updated: Aug 19, 2015 16:16 IST
Bangkok bombing

This image released by the Royal Thai Police shows a detailed sketch of the main suspect in a bombing that killed 20 people at the Erawan shrine in downtown Bangkok. (Royal Thai Police via AP)

Thai police on Wednesday released a detailed sketch of the man they think is the main suspect in Monday evening's bombing that killed 20 people at the Erawan shrine in downtown Bangkok.

It depicts a young man wearing glasses with bushy black hair and is apparently based on security camera video from the shrine showing a man in a yellow shirt carrying a backpack.

Police have offered a 1 million baht ($28,080) reward for any word on the man suspected of planting the explosive device that went off at the downtown shrine on a busy Monday evening.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha appealed to the main suspect to surrender because he says "he might get killed to stop him from talking."

Prayuth told reporters: "If the person wants to be safe, he should turn himself in. Officials will find a legal way to provide him with safety. It's better than living in hiding. It would make his life miserable."

Prayuth added: "I want to tell those close to the suspect to tell him to come to the police, whether you are in the same network or not because he might be in danger."

He also said that the man must have been hired to plant the bomb.

Experts investigate the Erawan shrine at the site of a deadly blast in central Bangkok, Thailand. (Reuters Photo)

National police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said anybody who appeared in the security footage around the time of the blast is considered a suspect. He told reporters on Wednesday that the suspect did not work alone.

He said "they work as a network, know how to escape. Not one person can do this." He added that there must be some Thai nationals involved, and they are not 100% certain that the man in the video is a foreigner and he could have been in disguise.

Thai police said they have called two or three people, mostly foreigners, for questioning as they search for the main suspect seen in security video carrying a backpack at the Erawan shrine shortly before the explosion.

Police investigate the scene after the explosion in Bangkok. (AP Photo)

Police spokesperson Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri said an arrest warrant for the unidentified suspect would be issued soon. He said "hopefully, he is still in Thailand." He added others wanted for questioning are people seen in the security footage at the shrine.

Investigators believe a man seen in security video wearing a yellow T-shirt and carrying a backpack set off the explosion. Police have released several photos of the man, with and without the backpack, and are asking the public to provide information about him.

The shrine where a bomb blast killed 20 people and wounded more than 120 on Monday night reopened in downtown Bangkok on Wednesday morning. Residents offered prayers, incense and flowers at the shrine at one of the capital's busiest intersections.

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