Thai authorities Tuesday announced the arrest of a man on the Thai-Cambodian border who they say is the prime suspect in the August 17 bombing of the Erawan shrine in Bangkok which killed 20 people and injured more than 130 others.
According to Thai media reports the man was in possession of a Peoples Republic of China passport issued on May 20, 2013 identifying him as 26-year-old Mieraili Yusufu from Xinjiang, an autonomous territory in northwest China that is home to ethnic minority groups, including the Turkic Uyghur people.
Thai junta chief and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said he is certain the man is the same person seen in CCTV footage wearing a yellow T-shirt and seen placing a bag on the ground at the shrine before walking away moments before the bomb detonated.
Last month Thailand forcibly repatriated more than 100 Uyghurs to China despite wide-spread global condemnation. Retaliation by Uyghur’s has been one of the theories authorities have claimed may have been behind the bombing.
At the time of writing the man was being flown by Royal Thai Army (RTA) helicopter from Sa Kaeo in eastern Thailand to Bangkok.
No additional information on the alleged Bangkok bomber arrested at Sa Kaeo was available.
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Updated: This story was updated at 4.10pm on September 5 to include video of the man being arrested.
He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.
He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.
In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.
Prior to AEC News Today he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.
In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.
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