BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai police over the weekend found and defused five explosive devices that had failed to detonate when an as yet unidentified group carried out a series of deadly bomb attacks on popular tourist spots late last week.
Police said they had arrested one suspect following the bomb and arson attacks on Thursday and Friday that killed four people and wounded dozens more in some of Thailand’s best-known southern resorts and islands. [restrict]
The attacks came just days after Thais voted to accept a military-backed constitution that the ruling junta, which seized power in 2014, has said will lead to an election by the end next year.
“These acts were undertaken by a group in many areas simultaneously, following orders from one individual,” Pongsapat Pongcharoen, a deputy national police chief, told reporters on Sunday, without elaborating.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Analysts say suspicion would inevitably fall on enemies of the ruling junta aggrieved by the referendum results, or insurgents from Muslim-majority provinces in the south of the mostly Buddhist country.
Two incendiary devices in mobile telephone power packs were found in a market in the upscale resort of Hua Hin on Sunday, the interior ministry said in a statement. A bomb disposal team defused both, and local police said the devices had been there since Wednesday.
The resort was the scene of the most devastating of the wave of bombs when a blast ripped through an alley in a bar area on Thursday evening. There were two more blasts in the town less than 12 hours later.
Another fire bomb was found on the island of Phuket on Sunday and defused, local police said. It had been set to detonate at 3 a.m. on Friday (1600 ET on Thursday), local police said.
In Phang Nga, two devices were found on Saturday near a market that was torched in an attack early on Friday.
“One worked and the other two didn’t,” Phakaphong Tavipatana, the governor of Phang Nga, told Reuters, adding that police hoped to find fingerprints on the defused devices. [/restrict]