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Leading security officials on the island have confirmed that the search for suspects wanted for their roles in the Erawan Shrine bombing in Bangkok, which killed 20 people and injured scores more, has reached Phuket.
Suasan is wanted for questioning as she rented a room at the Maimuna Garden Home apartment in Bangkok’s Min Buri district where urea-based fertiliser and other bomb-making materials were discovered in the post-blast investigation by police.
Suasan has told the authorities and the press that she was in Turkey and “shocked” to be linked with the crime, but has yet to present herself to the Royal Thai Embassy in Istanbul.
“It is possible that she may use Phuket International Airport to enter Thailand because she used to travel from Phuket International Airport, Thailand, to Turkey before,” Region 8 Police Criminal Investigation Chief Saharat Saksinlapachai told The Phuket News.
Region 8 Police, which is responsible for all police operating in upper Southern Thailand, including Phang Nga, has been given a list of suspects names and corresponding images of their faces to look out for, Col Saharat said.
“We have been ordered to be very strict on this. All officers and especially those in key positions on the island have been given details of the suspects’ appearances already,” he said.
Monrudee Gettuphan, Director of Phuket International Airport, said her officers were keeping a sharp lookout for the suspects.
“We are still conducting extensive security checks throughout the airport, which began as soon as were were notified of the bombing [on August 17],” Ms Monrudee said.
“We are also working closely with all airlines that operate flights in and out of Phuket,” she added.
Region 8 Police Commissioner Lt Gen Decha Budnampeth declined to provide any details of the search, other than he had handed over specific responsibility for the search in Phuket to Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Pachara Boonyasit.
“We are working with immigration, bus terminal staff, police and security personnel at checkpoints across the island, including at Tah Chatchai, the main checkpoint onto and off the island, and at the airport as well,” Gen Pachara told The Phuket News.
“We are keeping our eyes open in all areas on the island. We have pictures of the suspects, and we are very active on this.”
Phuket Immigration Inspector Tianchai Chompoo confirmed that the search includes hotels, resorts and tourist locations.
“We are checking all our records, as all hotels and tourist accommodations must report all guests staying at their establishments, and we are also conducting random inspections,” he said.
“And of course our officers at the airport are keeping a lookout for suspects. We have been notified of, and are working with, airport authorities on this.”