Police: Bangkok bomb suspect bribed border police several times

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A suspect in the Bangkok bombing bribed his way across the border with Cambodia several times, police said on Thursday.

Mieraili Yusufu, 25, was said to have bribed immigration officials at the Sa Kaeo border crossing “at least 5 or 6 times,” Police Chief Somyot Poompanmouang told reporters.

Yusufu, who was arrested on the Cambodian border, has admitted to possessing bomb-making materials and handing the explosives to the bomber hours before the blast on August 17.

The explosion killed 20 people and injured more than 100.

Six immigration police were earlier transferred over allegedly taking bribes worth 18,000 baht (around 500 US dollars) from Yusufu, a news report said on Wednesday, but indicating only one incident.

Somyot Thursday also downplayed rumours that a Chinese Uighur named Ishaan was the mastermind and had fled the country, as reported by another police spokesman earlier, citing Yusufu under questioning.

“We are not sure how big a role this man played,” Somyot said.

Security analysts said the terrorist attack did not fit the pattern of other attacks by local and regional groups.

Some have speculated that the most likely culprits were Turkish far-right groups unhappy with Thailand’s deportation of Uighur refugees to China in July.

Uighurs are a Muslim ethnic minority in north-western China who speak a language related to Turkish. Many Uighurs say they suffer discrimination at the hands of the Chinese authorities.

Yusufu was carrying a Chinese passport at the time of his arrest. The passport indicates that Yusufu is from Xinjiang in north-western China, part of the Uighur homeland.

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