Reward for Bangkok bomber increased 4 fold
Amount for information leading to arrest of principal suspect in Monday’s bombing now stands at $112,000.

The reward for information leading to the arrest of the principal suspect in Monday’s bombing in Bangkok has increased four fold, with a group of local businessman topping up the pot Friday.

Police had initially offered one million baht ($28,000) in the hope of obtaining crucial information, but "some people in the private sector increased the amount by one million baht, and prominent businessman Somwang Asarasi increased the total with cash and assets by two million baht," Matichon online reported.

The amount now stands at $112,000.

"Somwang Asarasi is a prominent businessman and Red Shirt leader," added the Thai news website.

The Red Shirts are supporters of the Shinawatra family political clan, led by former prime minister and military nemesis Thaksin Shinawatra, and opponents of the conservative establishment.

Some officials have suggested that elements allied with Shinawatra were behind the blast.

The bombing on Monday evening at the revered Erawan Hindu Shrine in central Bangkok killed 20 people, among them 14 Asian tourists, and injured 125 others.

Despite the reward, the investigation seemed to have made little progress, even with the help of an "unnamed foreign government's help" with equipment to enhance the security camera images.

The only substantial evidence so far are grainy images of a man wearing a yellow-shirt placing a bag under a bench at the shrine, and leaving it a few minutes before the explosion.

He is considered the main suspect by Thai authorities, and an arrest warrant was issued Wednesday by a court against a "foreigner" -- even though a police spokesman has said he could well be a Thai person in disguise.

Confusion increased Friday with Police Chief General Somyot Pumpanmuang telling local reporters that the plotters may have been "only two" people -- a day after he said that the bomber belonged to a "network" and had been helped by "at least ten accomplices".

"The aim is to discredit the government and create a climate of fear to deter tourists," he said after a memorial for the deceased at the shrine, according to The Nation.

"There is a lot of progress, but I cannot disclose everything."

Meanwhile, Thai junta spokesman Colonel Winthai Suwaree warned in a televised statement Friday that police were preparing to take action against "people who spread false information on Internet, in the aim of creating confusion in Thai society".

Since Monday’s bombing, all kind of rumours -- from the believable to the surreal -- have spread on social networks, some even alluding to a United States ploy to punish Thailand for "getting too close to [trade rival] China."

In what appears to be an overzealous journalistic endeavour, the Nation TV channel sent a reporter dressed like the principal suspect to the Erawan Shrine Friday to "re-enact the bombing".

The reporter was booed by onlookers and arrested by plainclothes policemen, according to Khaosod website.

Several hours after the incident, Nation TV president Adisak Limprungpatanakij published a statement in which he said: "I express my sincerest regret for the actions of a Nation TV team that re-enacted the incident without considering the impact on sensitive feelings of the people and respect for the deceased."

Last Modified: 2015-08-22 07:02:38
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