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Bomber suspect apologises to victims 

BANGKOK: Watana Pumret, the man suspected of being behind the bomb attack at Phramongkutklao Hospital, has offered his apologies to the victims, while insisting he acted alone without support from any political group.

crime, military, police, violence, politics,

Bangkok Post

Wednesday 21 June 2017, 09:07AM

Wattana Phumret, 62, (centre), a suspect in the bombing of a military hospital on May 22, is escorted by Thai police during a crime re-enactment at King Mongkut Hospital in Bangkok. Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP
Wattana Phumret, 62, (centre), a suspect in the bombing of a military hospital on May 22, is escorted by Thai police during a crime re-enactment at King Mongkut Hospital in Bangkok. Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Speaking to the media for the first time since he was detained last Wednesday (June 14), the 62-year-old retired engineer said the attack was aimed at venting his frustrations against the military government.

Mr Watana is accused of being behind six bombings between 2007 and 2017, and he has allegedly confessed to each one.

“I was inspired by my hatred for governments that come from military coups. Each coup has caused an economic disaster and restricted people’s rights,” said the accused man.

“Every attack was meant to be a statement against the government. I did not aim to take anyone’s life … I would like to offer my apologies to all those who were injured. I am sorry,” he said during a press conference at the Royal Thai Police headquarters yesterday.

Asked if he intended to carry out more attacks if there was another coup, he said, “I believe after this bombing, the military will talk more to the people.” He added that during his detention, the officers did not violate his rights.

The police yesterday took Watana for crime re-enactments at three locations instead of seven as originally planned.

The three sites were Watana’s residence on Ram Intra Rd, outside Major Cineplex Ratchayothin where there was a blast on April 9, 2007 and Phramongkutklao Hospital, the scene of the the latest attack on May 22.

The national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said Watana confessed to having acted alone. “But it is difficult to prevent a lone wolf. We have to review our prevention plans again,” he said.

During the press conference, the police showed a sequence of footage from the hospital’s security camera and the route that Watana took before setting off the bomb.

According to police, Watana parked his vehicle at the Egat office in Bang Kruai, Nonthaburi. He changed his clothes and got on a bus with suspicious-looking items to Phramongkutklao Hospital and then returned.

Gen Chakthip said the police have requested a warrant from the court to arrest him on five charges including being behind the attacks at Phramongkutklao Hospital, the National Theatre on May 15, outside the old Government Lottery Office on April 5 and outside Major Cineplex Ratchayothin in 2007, and for attempted premeditated murder and illegal possession of explosive materials.

Meanwhile, the police yesterday were set to seek another court warrant for two other attacks at Soi Rajavithi 24 on May 5, 2007 and in front of the Royal Thai Army Headquarters on Sept 30, 2007.

Gen Chakthip said the police looked into whether Watana had any accomplices and if he had any intention to take people’s lives.

“From our experience, the chances of catching bombers are slim, sometimes impossible. When the attacks in 2007 took place we were not able to obtain as much evidence as we can today. And we did it,” he said.

He added, “Some have asked whether the government carried out the bombing. Today, the answer is clear [the government did not],” he said.

Mai Gen Chayapol Chatchaidech, chief of the Special Branch’s Division 4, said Watana did not confess when he was first interrogated, but only during the second interrogation after police found bomb components in his house.

Read original story here.



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