Police chief confirms two suspects in Hat Yai hotel bombing arrested

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BANGKOK, April 4 — National Police Chief Pol Gen Prewpan Dhamapong confirmed on Wednesday that police have arrested two suspects in last weekend’s Hat Yai hotel bombing, even as security measures are being stepped up at main tourist attractions in Bangkok and the provinces to prevent any possible violent incident during the holiday.

Gen Prewpan told reporters that the two suspects believed to be involved in the attack have been arrested. According to the police investigation, some 20 people took part in the bombing at the Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel Saturday which claimed three lives, including two Malaysians, and wounded over other 350 tourists and shoppers.

The police chief did not say whether the two men were the pair that appeared on closed circuit TV footage from the hotel’s basement car park.

He said the security-related agencies would adjust their operations to be more proactive to prevent such incidents from taking place and to restore confidence among foreign tourists and the local business community.

Security measures would be stepped up at tourist attractions and other important locations in Bangkok and provinces as a precaution for the Thai traditional new year, the Songkran festival, April 13-15.

Gen Prewpan said that there was no information indicating any violence so far but the authorities are on high alert and sharing information with foreign countries.

In a related development, Provincial Police Region 9 Commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Jakthip Chaijinda said that Songkhla police are offering an additional Bt500,000 bounty for each of the two suspects in the Hat Yai hotel bombing who appeared on CCTV footage.

The reward will be in addition to the Bt500,000 bounty earlier set by the Songkhla governor for anyone giving information leading to the arrest of the pair.

Gen Jakthip said that the police will seek court permission within two days to issue arrest warrants for the two suspects who were captured on CCTV footage while driving a car to the hotel car park and left the hotel before the explosion.

He said police were gathering more information and believed that the two might have been in the same group of the bombers who carried out car bombings in Yala on the same day killing 12 others.