The news was delivered at a press conference held at Patong Police Station yesterday (July 24), attended by Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Witoon Kongsudjai, Pol Col Arayaphan Phukbuakhao and public prosecutor Tawan Sukyiran along with the leading officer from the Phuket Public Prosecutor’s Office, Teerawut Pramhamahan.
The suspect, Abdulsatopa Sulong, 36, was arrested in his home province of Pattani on May 1 this year, but later escaped and was re-apprehended on May 26, it was explained yesterday.
Details of when, where or how Abdulsatopa managed to escape after Phuket police officers were dispatched to Pattani to bring him back to Patong were not provided.
Abdulstopa was one of 11 suspects wanted for their involvement in the spate of bombs that rocked Southern Thailand on Aug 10-12, 2016. He now faces charges for his part in acting collectively to illegally possess explosives, as well as setting fire to other people’s property, and being a member of a secret organisation.
In the aftermath of the bombings, which killed four people and injured 36 others, police in Phuket were issued arrest warrants after DNA from a bomb in Patong matched that of a known insurgent in the Deep South.
In the ensuing investigation, four bombs were found, including one at a clothes and souvenir market at the Paradise Plaza night market on Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Rd in central Patong.
An Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) bomb detection unit later confirmed that a “strange contraption” discovered at a busy clothes and souvenir market in central Patong midday on Aug 14, 2016, was indeed a bomb that failed to detonate.
Patong Police were issued warrants for four suspects, the officers explained yesterday.
Of the four Muhammat Muhi and Abdulstopa are in custody, but Ahama Lengha and Yuzo Matimoe are dead , the officers said.
As with Abdulstopa’s escape, details of the deaths of Ahama and Yuzo were not provided.
All files relating to the bombings in Patong were handed over to Phuket Public Prosecutor on May 1, the officers added.
Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Arayaphan said, “This is a case of security. In the past, we have focused on all security cases that have occurred in the area and we continue with follow-up investigations until we find the offenders so they can be prosecuted.”
Prosecutor Tawan said, “Finally, police have arrested Mr Abdulstopa Sulong, who had escaped. Now, he is facing legal action through the Phuket Provincial Court.”