'Thai temple blast attempt to discredit govt, deter tourists'

 Thailand today said the aim of the attack in the Brahma temple here was to discredit the government and create a climate of fear to deter tourists, even as it insisted that "a lot of progress" has been made in the case despite the lack of arrests.

PTI| Updated: Aug 21, 2015, 12:44 PM IST

Bangkok: Thailand today said the aim of the attack in the Brahma temple here was to discredit the government and create a climate of fear to deter tourists, even as it insisted that "a lot of progress" has been made in the case despite the lack of arrests.

Amid tight security, religious prayers, known as merit- making rites, were held this morning in the memory of the twenty people killed on Monday in a bomb blast inside the Erawan Brahma temple in central Bangkok.

Speaking after the memorial, national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said the bomb was an attempt to create fear and uncertainty in the capital.

"The aim is to discredit the government and create a climate of fear to deter tourists," Somyot told reporters.

"There's a lot of progress (in the case), but I can't disclose everything," he said.

Somyot also said that the main suspect who was captured on CCTV placing a backpack under a bench at the temple minutes before the explosion must have had "accomplices supporting the attack".

Thailand yesterday ruled out involvement of global terror groups in the attack. Somyot had said there were more than 10 involved and they carefully planned the attack for months.

"This blast was carried out by teams...There was a survey team, a protection team, material providing team and exit team," he had said.

The rites of five religions, including Hinduism and Sikhism, were held at the Central World outdoor activity square on the Ratchaprasong Intersection across the temple.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon presided over the rites which began at 7 AM (local time).

The Buddhist, Islamic, Christian, Sikh and Hindu rites were also attended by Prime Minister's Office Minister Panadda Diskul, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, diplomats and many members of the public.

Gen Prawit led the attendees in worshipping Brahma as national artist Naowarat Pongpaiboon read a poem. All participants placed flowers outside the temple in memory of the 20 victims.

A police spokesman yesterday also hinted that investigators are looking at whether a private dispute could be behind the blast, media reports said.
Also yesterday, two suspects who attracted suspicion after being seen on CCTV footage near the main suspect at the temple were ruled out as accomplices.

Thai police have also released a sketch of a young bespectacled foreign man who carried out the bombing and is believed to be part of the over 10-member network. Authorities also announced a reward of 1 million baht (USD 28,000) for information leading to his arrest.