PHUKET: One of the four men initially wanted for the 12th August bombings in Patong in 2016 has been re-arrested after escaping custody, Phuket Provincial Police have announced.
The news was delivered at a press conference held at Patong Police Station on 24th July, attended by Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Witoon Kongsudjai, Pol Col Arayaphan Phukbuakhao and public prosecutor Tawan Sukyiran along with the leading officer from the Phuket Public Prosecutor’s Office, Teerawut Pramhamahan.
The suspect, Abdulsatopa Sulong, 36, was arrested in his home province of Pattani on May 1 this year, but later escaped and was re-apprehended on 26th May, it was explained yesterday.
Details of when, where or how Abdulsatopa managed to escape after Phuket police officers were dispatched to Pattani to bring him back to Patong were not provided.
Abdulstopa was one of 11 suspects wanted for their involvement in the spate of bombs that rocked Southern Thailand on 10th-12th August 2016. He now faces charges for his part in acting collectively to illegally possess explosives, as well as setting fire to other people’s property, and being a member of a secret organisation.
In the aftermath of the bombings, which killed four people and injured 36 others, police in Phuket were issued arrest warrants after DNA from a bomb in Patong matched that of a known insurgent in the Deep South.
In the ensuing investigation, four bombs were found, including one at a clothes and souvenir market at the Paradise Plaza night market on Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Rd in central Patong.
An Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) bomb detection unit later confirmed that a “strange contraption” discovered at a busy clothes and souvenir market in central Patong midday on 14th Aug 2016, was indeed a bomb that failed to detonate.
Patong Police were issued warrants for four suspects, the officers explained yesterday.
Of the four Muhammat Muhi and Abdulstopa are in custody, but Ahama Lengha and Yuzo Matimoe are dead, the officers said.
As with Abdulstopa’s escape, details of the deaths of Ahama and Yuzo were not provided.
All files relating to the bombings in Patong were handed over to Phuket Public Prosecutor on 1st May, the officers added.
Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Arayaphan said, “This is a case of security. In the past, we have focused on all security cases that have occurred in the area and we continue with follow-up investigations until we find the offenders so they can be prosecuted.”
Prosecutor Tawan said, “Finally, police have arrested Mr Abdulstopa Sulong, who had escaped. Now, he is facing legal action through the Phuket Provincial Court.”