BANGKOK: Thai police today issued an arrest warrant against a Pakistani man who is allegedly the kingpin of a Chinese Uighur trafficking gang in connection with the country's worst bomb blast that killed 20 people last month at a temple here.
Police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said that an arrest warrant has been issued for Abdul Tawab on charges of conspiracy to possess unauthorised explosives and conspiracy to possess unauthorised war materials.
This is the 13th arrest warrant issued by Thai authorities for suspects in connection with the August 17 bomb blast at the Erawan Brahma temple here.
Yusufu Mieraili, a suspect arrested along the Thai-Cambodian border in Sa Kaeo on September 1, also implicated Tawab, saying he knew the Pakistani man.
Witnesses at the apartment also confirmed Mieraili's account, local media reported.
Tawab is allegedly chief of an Uighur trafficking gang through Thailand to third countries. He is believed to be a Pakistani national and husband of Panissara Chaleerattarom, a 39-year-old Thai arrested on Sunday, police spokesman General Prawut Tavornsiri said here.
"We have yet to verify whether he really is her husband. But we have a rough idea he had not played as big a role in the plot as Yusufu Mieraili did," he said.
"We think they are all on the same team. While we can't identify the mastermind, we don't think Ishan (Abudusataer Abudureheman) is the man. Tawab could be a facilitator while Panissara might have known about the illegal entry and given the perpetrators refuge," he added.
"Police think Ishan, who remains at large, might have been the yellow-shirted man caught on closed-circuit cameras placing the bomb at the Erawan shrine," the spokesman said.
As the investigation unfolds, police have found the network keeps expanding, involving several people.
"I admit I might have jumped to conclusion. We will from now on find a way to coordinate more closely with Turkish authorities. In the meantime, we're checking with the United Arab Emirates and India as Ishan was said to have gone through Abu Dhabi and India," he said.
The bombing killed 20 people and injured more than 100, the majority of them Chinese tourists, raising fears of a link to militants or supporters of the Uighurs, ethnic Turkic-speaking Muslims in China, who say they face heavy persecution in their native Xinjiang.
Thailand has earlier detained two suspects in connection with the blasts and issued arrest warrants for 12 others.