Thai Police Say Wave of Attacks Connected, 1 Arrested

Thai Police Say Wave of Attacks Connected, 1 ArrestedThai Police Say Wave of Attacks Connected, 1 Arrested

A series of bombing and arson attacks in southern Thailand, which killed four people and wounded dozens, was orchestrated by a single person, Thai police said on Sunday, while a man has been arrested in relation to one of the attacks.

Blasts on Thursday and Friday targeted some of Thailand’s best-known tourist resorts, just days after Thais voted to accept a military-backed constitution that paves the way for an election at the end of 2017, Reuters reported.

“These acts were undertaken by a group in many areas simultaneously, following orders from one individual,” PongsapatPongcharoen, a deputy national police chief, told reporters.

He gave no further details on who police believe was responsible for the attacks and no group has claimed them.

Analysts say suspicion would inevitably fall on enemies of the ruling junta aggrieved by the referendum results, or insurgents from provinces in the south of the mostly Buddhist country.

Bombs went off on Thursday and Friday in the upscale resort of Hua Hin and beach destinations in the south including Phuket, PhangNga and SuratThani, a city that is the gateway to popular islands in the Gulf of Thailand.

The wave of attacks came as tourists flocked to the beaches at the start of a public holiday. Several attacks used incendiary devices that hit shops and markets in southern Thai provinces.

A man has been arrested and was being questioned in connection to an arson attack on a supermarket in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pongsapat said.

Police believe more than one individual was involved in that attack. The movements of other suspects were being monitored, he added.

In PhangNga, two devices that authorities believe failed to go off were found on Saturday near a market that was torched in an attack early on Friday.

“One worked and the other two didn’t,” PhakaphongTavipatana, the governor of PhangNga, told Reuters, adding that police hoped to find fingerprints on the defused devices.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has instructed the police to be thorough and cautious in their investigation, said Pongsapat, adding that police were “not catching scapegoats”.

Thai police have come under fire in the past over investigations into high-profile cases, including the brutal murders of two British backpackers on a tourist island in 2014.