Police confirm Bangkok bomb linked to Uighur deportation

For first time since blast that killed 20, Thai authorities recognize bomb connected to deportation by Bangkok of 109 Uighur to China in July

Police confirm Bangkok bomb linked to Uighur deportation

World Bulletin / News Desk

For the first time since the Aug. 17 deadly bombing in Bangkok, Thailand's police have recognized that the blast is connected to the deportation by Bangkok of 109 Uighur to China in July.

"The bombing is a result of the interests of human smuggling rings being affected by the crackdown by Thai authorities and is connected as well to the sending of 109 Uighur to China," Thai police chief General Somyot Pumpanmuang told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.

"But in this case [the sending of the Uighur], it was necessary to follow the law," he added.

Pumpanmuang also mentioned the ransacking of the Thai consulate in Istanbul which took place on news of the deportation, saying that it was "too early to say if the same group of people [involved in the consulate ransacking] was also involved in the bombing".

Up until Tuesday, Thai authorities had been wary of publicly connecting the blast to the July deportation.

The 85 men and 24 women sent to China were from a group of around 350 who were being held in Thai immigration centers after being rounded up in the kingdom last year.

Around 180 others had earlier been sent according to their wishes to Turkey, which welcomes the Uighur as its own as they are among a number of Turkic tribes that inhabit the region of Xinjiang and surrounding areas.

The deportation to China in July saw families separated, husbands taken away from wives and fathers and mothers from children.

As a chorus of protests by international organizations and foreign governments against Thailand’s decision to send the group to Beijing grew, a further group of eight women and children were also sent to Turkey.

The reaction to the deportation to China was particularly strong in Turkey, where a group of pro-Uighur people vandalized the Thai consulate in Istanbul on July 9.

Around 52 Uighur -- mostly men -- are still detained in immigration centers in southern Thailand.

Thai human rights activist Angkhana Neelaphaijit told Anadolu Agency last week that a high-ranking government official had informed her that they will not be sent to China.

Thai police had previously insisted on the theory that the bombing was a revenge attack by a people smuggling ring whose interests had been affected by a crackdown by Thai authorities since last May.

Police spokesman Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri stated earlier this month that the blast in which 20 people lost their lives -- six of them Chinese nationals -- was not related to "international terrorism", but rather to "people smuggling".

"We have agreed already that I won't mention the name of a country, the name of a group or their religion. Please allow me to say that it is a network, and let's wait and see which group it is," he added.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Eylül 2015, 11:57