KUALA LUMPUR, Sept. 21, 2015:
A terror attack or retaliatory strike by human trafficking syndicates?
More than a month after the Bangkok bombing at Erawan Shrine and after much speculation over suspected terror organisation links, investigators now focus their sights on human trafficking syndicates.
Over the past two weeks, more than eight were arrested in Malaysia and Thailand and with the arrest of a human trafficking syndicate kingpin in Bangladesh, authorities believe the Bangkok bombings during the week of Aug 17, to be more of a retaliatory strike.
Last week, senior Thai police officials arrived to interview three suspects detained here earlier in connection with the Bangkok bombings.
However, as police have yet to conclude their investigations, Thai police were assured there would be an exchange of information later.
Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar assured cooperation would be extended to his Thai counterparts once police here complete their probe into the trio.
Soon after the arrests of the two Malaysians, including a woman, and a Pakistani national in the Klang Valley and in a northern State, Thai police arrested three women in Bangkok’s Din Daeng district on the Sept 11 weekend.
Thai police seized an assortment of travelling bags and computers in the Sunday crackdown at the female only apartment complex.
Fingerprints were lifted and other evidence seized from the scene for comparison analysis to the separate bombings at the Four Face Buddha Shrine and at Sathorn pier.
Last Friday, Thai police nabbed four, including a Pakistani national, in Bangkok and they obtained a photofit of the suspect linked to the pier bombing last month.
On Aug 17, an unidentified man wearing a yellow t-shirt placed a shoulder bag containing an explosive devise on a chair near the Erawan Shrine in the tourist belt of Bangkok. It was detonated and the incident killed some 20 people, including several Malaysians, and injured more than 120.
The following day another devise went off near Sathorn pier but there were no casualties reported.
Coincidentally, last week Bangladeshi authorities also announced their month long crackdown on syndicates culminated with the arrest of a human trafficking syndicate kingpin, who was also sought by Malaysia and Thai authorities, at the country’s border with Myanmar.
The suspect topped the most wanted list following the Rohingya human trafficking crisis last May.
Prior to May, Thai police launched a crackdown against such syndicates and this resulted with syndicates forcing out poor Bangladeshis in rickety boats in the Bay of Bengal, while others were left abandoned in jungles.
Following the crackdown in Thailand, mass graves with human remains were uncovered at the Malaysia-Thai border.