Bangkok: The foreign suspect arrested here in connection with Thailand's worst bombing at a Brahma temple has confessed that he carried out the attack, his lawyer said on Wednesday, contradicting his client's earlier claims that he was not in the country at the time of crime. Lawyer Choochart Kanphai told reporters that he met with his client Adem Karadag, also known as Bilal Mohammed and Bilal Turk, for about an hour on Wednesday at the military camp where he has been detained.
During the meeting, Karadag "voluntarily confessed" to being the man seen on CCTV wearing a yellow-tee shirt who left a pipebomb at the Erawan Brahma shrine which killed 20 people and injured more than 130 others. Karadag's confession contradicts his earlier claims he was not in the country at the time of the attack. Police said his confession, together with other security camera footage and eyewitness accounts, confirmed they had the right man, after earlier saying DNA evidence suggested it was unlikely to be him.
Wednesday's meeting was Choochart's first with his client since reports of a supposed confession emerged late last Thursday. On Friday, Choochart said he doubted his client would admit to the crime. Choochart now confirmed authorities' claims that Karadag had no choice but to confess after being presented with evidence tying him to the bombing. On Saturday, police said they were convinced that Karadag, the first person to be arrested, was the man seen in CCTV footage wearing a yellow t-shirt and placing a backpack at the temple moments before the explosion.
In a briefing on Monday, investigators released a series of four sketches showing how Karadag could have transformed his appearance from the initial suspect sketch which showed a man with glasses and floppy hair. According to his lawyer, Karadag is a Chinese Uighur who was settled in Turkey. He has asked for a Turkic-Uighur interpreter because he cannot discuss details of his case in English.
With the confession, Choochart admitted his options in the defence case are limited. The motive for the attack is still not clear. Speculation has indicated a link to supporters of the Uighurs, an ethnic group who say they face severe persecution in China after Thailand forcibly repatriated 109 of the minority in July.
On Friday, a Thai military court issued arrest warrants for 17 people, three of whom were named publicly for the first time as members of the network responsible for the bombing at the shrine.