Retired Engineer Confesses to Bombing Military Hospital in Bangkok: Thai Police

Mariyam Ahmad
170615-TH-hospital-1000.jpg Thai military officials take control of Phra Mongkutklao Hospital in Bangkok after a pipe bomb blast injured more than 20 people, May 22, 2017.

A retired engineer confessed to setting off a bomb last month at a Bangkok military hospital on the third anniversary of the junta seizing control of Thailand’s government, authorities said Thursday.

The deputy prime minister for security affairs said military officials searched the home of a 62-year-old man who was arrested Thursday and who confessed to detonating the pipe bomb that injured more than 20 people on May 22. The suspect, whose name was not released, was taken to the Military Circle 11 detention center in downtown Bangkok.

“Officials have arrested a suspected bomber at Phra Mongkutklao Hospital. They are speedily questioning the man. ... He admitted to planting the bomb,” Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, who is also defense minister, told reporters in Bangkok.

“It is a good thing that we arrested a bad guy who created turmoil,” he said.

Prawit designated National Police chief Gen. Chakthip Chaichinda to handle interrogation.


Lt. Gen. Apirat Kongsompong, the commander of the 1st Army Region in Bangkok, led his men and police as they searched the home in Bangkhen, a suburban district north of Bangkok, of a man identified only as 62-year-old retired engineer for a state enterprise.

Authorities found bomb-making materials such as a detonating circuit, PVC pipes and nails, Apirat said while declining to reveal more details.

The bomb packed with nails exploded on May 22 near a dispensary room next to the hospital’s Wongsuwan Room, which was established as a tribute to the deputy prime minister. The blast struck an area mostly frequented by military officials.

A Thai language newspaper reported the suspect told officials he set off the bomb because he hated the military.

Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Kongcheep Tantrawanich told reporters he believed the suspect was not the only one responsible for the attack, according to a local news report, without releasing additional details.

Three bombings since April

The national police chief said there was a potential link to three bombings in Bangkok since April.

On April 5, a small bomb exploded at the old government-run Lottery Building, slightly injuring two people. A similar bomb exploded in front of the National Theater on May 15, injuring two others.

The two incidents occurred near the Royal Grounds in Bangkok, where a gigantic pyre is being constructed for the funeral of King Bhumibol Adulyadej later this year.

After the hospital bomb exploded, Chakthip, the national police chief, said the three attacks were similar in nature, based on initial investigations.

On May 22, 2014, army Gen. Prayuth Chan-o-cha led a military coup that toppled the civilian government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Prayuth became Thailand’s 29th prime minister and appointed Prawit to the two ministerial posts.

Since taking control, the junta has imposed tight controls on freedom of speech and assembly and has arrested government critics or others accused of violating Thailand’s strict royal defamation law.


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