A man who has emerged as a suspect in Monday’s fatal bombing of a religious site in Bangkok, Thailand, denied playing a role in the explosion during an interrogation session Wednesday, according to a new report. Pongpob Boonsaree, who allegedly posted a warning to his Facebook page four days before the bomb was detonated, told local law enforcement he was not involved in the deadly attack, according to the Bangkok Post.
Pongpob, 36, took to the social media site 9:54 p.m. Aug. 13 and wrote in part, “Urgent, urgent, urgent on 14 -18, be very careful in Bangkok. This is all I can say. This news is 86%. That’s all I can say. Repeat again.” That message clearly foreshadowed Monday’s explosion at the Erawan shrine, a Hindu house of worship where at least 20 people were killed and dozens more injured, officials have charged.
The state enterprise worker claimed he only reposted the message once he saw it online because he was concerned after he read it that something terrible could transpire. “I was suspicious from the message, and I felt that something bad may happen, and I was worried about ordinary people, so I reposted the message on my Facebook,” Pongpob said, according to media outlet Khaosod English. “I didn’t expect that something would really happen.”
Pongpob backed the claim by pointing to his subsequent post shortly after the blast that he said vindicated his apparent foreboding. “Told you to be careful,” he wrote. “How’s that? Believe me now? It has happened. Go check if our people got hit.”
Police, who were still searching for those responsible for the explosion, have questioned an Australian model and fashion blogger over the attack and released a composite sketch of a man believed to have been involved.
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) August 19, 2015
The person in the sketch is thought to have left a backpack under a bench at the Erawan shrine before walking away while looking at a smartphone held in his hand, Agence France-Presse reported. A taxi driver who picked up the primary suspect was also reportedly questioned.
Thai police have spoken to moto taxi driver who picked up Bangkok bomb suspect. Perhaps that's why they think he's foreign but don't know ID
— Jerome Taylor (@JeromeTaylor) August 19, 2015
Fifty-five people of those who were wounded were released Wednesday from the hospital, while nearly 70 others remained hospitalized.
Tourism in Bangkok, which is a major revenue generator for Thailand, was expected to take a hit in the wake of the explosion.