Asia

Mistress of Bangkok hospital blast suspect likely to have role in attack: Source

Mistress of Bangkok hospital blast suspect likely to have role in attack: Source
The Phramongkutklao Hospital where a blast occurred last month. Photo: AFP
Published: 11:31 AM, June 19, 2017
Updated: 11:32 AM, June 19, 2017

BANGKOK — A woman identified as the mistress of Watana Pumret, the chief suspect in the May 22 bombing of the Phramongkutklao Hospital in the Thai capital, was likely to be involved in the attack as well as others to which he had confessed, a security source said.

“Watana’s mistress is found to lean strongly towards a political camp, and every time before Watana carried out his attacks, he would visit his mistress at a condo in Nonthaburi,” said the source on Sunday (June 18)

“This has led security officials to suspect that there are possibly more people involved (in the May 22 blast).”

One fact that added weight to the theory that more people were involved in the attacks is that Watana's handwriting was found to not resemble any of that found in three letters sent to warn the National Cancer Institute of Thailand and Prasat Neurological Institute about a possible bomb attack, the source said.

The letters were sent anonymously to these two organisations, which are in the same neighbourhood as Phramongkutklao Hospital, sometime before the May 22 blast.

Investigators told Watana to write more than 10,000 words and his handwriting was examined and compared with those in the warning letters, the security source said.

Watana, however, insisted that he acted alone and that he was motivated by his dislike of the military for its crackdown on “red-shirt” protesters in May 2010.

The 61-year-old previously worked as an engineer for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, and investigators said he has bomb-making expertise.

Last month’s attack at Phramongkutklao Hospital that wounded 21 people occurred on the third anniversary of the 2014 coup, and the military government blamed it on groups opposed to the junta.

Besides the May 22 attack, Wattana said he had planted bombs at the former Government Lottery Bureau office and the National Theatre earlier this year; he also claimed responsibility for an attack on a cinema in Bangkok in April 2007.

Security authorities also found no link between Watana's wife and the hospital blast, although some weapons and explosives were found at the wife's house in the Thai capital, the security source said.

The source added that she is a retiree with no known political inclinations who has provided useful information to investigators in their probe. AGENCIES