The move came after Maj Gen Wijarn Jodtaeng, the legal chief of the National Council for Peace and Order, and Col Burin Thongprapai, a Judge Advocate-General’s Department officer, filed complaints against the 17 for operating a criminal association known as ang-yee. The charges relate to the attacks last week and were filed at the Crime Suppression Division on yesterday night. The petitions and other documents were presented as evidence.
The 17 were charged with violating Section 210 of Criminal Code which deals with offences relating to public peace. Ten of them are being detained at the 41st Military Circle in Nakhon Si Thammarat province. They will be taken to the CSD tomorrow (Aug 19) to answer the charges.
The source said CSD police expected to seek warrants for their arrests from the military court of the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok today (Aug 18).
More suspects have emerged after investigators found links between last week’s attacks and the May 26, 2013, bombing in Bangkok’s Ramkhamhaeng area, based on the methods of attack and assembly of the bombs. Four men were sentenced to 50 years jail in that incident. Insurgent elements in the South have also been linked to the attacks.
They believe Ahama Leng-ha, a resident of Narathiwat’s Tak Bai district and a suspected separatist who is wanted in connection with several violent incidents in the deep South, was the person who assembled the bombs used in the new attacks. A DNA sample collected from the Phuket blast scene last Wednesday (Aug 10) matched that taken from Mr Ahama, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued.
His DNA samples were collected twice. Mr Ahama was detained previously in connection with the Tak Bai protest in 2004 and six years later he turned himself in to authorities in connection with an alleged violation of the emergency law.
Police officers were deployed to search Mr Ahama’s house yesterday morning.
His relatives told officers Mr Ahama left the house many years ago. He told them he was going to work in Malaysia, according to Col Patcharapol Na nakon, chief of Tak Bai police.
Relatives have been unable to reach him since then, Col Patcharapol said.
Meanwhile, A Chiang Mai man allegedly implicated in the fire at a Tesco Lotus superstore in Nakhon Sri Thammarat last week is expected to face fresh charges of arson and bomb possession.
The warrant for his arrest one of those being sought with the Military Court.
Sakarin Karuehas, 32, was arrested on Saturday on an offshore oil platform off Nakhon Sri Thammarat where he worked. He was charged with committing arson at the store. .
The attack was one of 13 bombings and arsons, which killed four people and injured 35 others in seven provinces last Thursday (Aug 11) and Friday (Aug 12).
He is being held under an arrest warrant issued by the provincial court. His image was captured by closed-circuit surveillance cameras before the blaze began, a key piece of evidence that led to his being caught, police said.
Deputy national police chief Srivara Ransibramanakul said yesterday that the provincial court warrant would be withdrawn as an investigation by Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers had found explosive devices were involved in the attack.
Based on a National Council for Peace and Order directive, suspects in such offences must stand trial in the Military Court.
Gen Srivara, who leads the investigation into the case, said the new warrant against the suspect would be sought with the Military Circle 41 court based on counts on both arson and bomb possession.
The deputy police chief was speaking at Hua Hin police station, where he chaired a meeting to unravel the case yesterday.
Officers at the Military Circle 41, where Mr Sakarin was detained, took the suspect to Nakhon Sri Thammarat police headquarters for further questioning.
Gen Srivara said police have obtained solid evidence in connection with the bombings, which leads them to believe they have a greater than 50 per cent chance to apprehend more suspects.
Deputy police spokesman Piyapan Pingmuang said investigators have not found any link to political groups in the probe, but insisted they cannot be ruled out.
He said police are working with Malaysian authorities to check Malaysian SIM cards in the mobile phones used to detonate the bombs, adding that part of the probe is going well.
Progress of more than 70 per cent has been made in the investigation, Maj Gen Piyapan said.