POLICE in Nong Khai province have released a Turkish man who was thought to look similar to a suspect in the Erawan bombing after he was found to have no involvement in the attack.
The man, whose name was not been released, was intercepted at an immigration checkpoint on Thursday.
He told police that he lived with his family in nearby Khon Kaen province.
“After questioning the man, we freed him as nothing linked him to the explosions,” national police chief General Chakthip Chaijinda said yesterday.
Chakthip said a suspect in the case, Aod Payoongwong, or Yongyuth Pokkaew, was still at large possibly because of his knowledge obtained from having a criminal background.
He believed Yongyuth was involved in the network that carried out the attacks, including a second bombing at Sathorn pier that led to no casualties, and possibly met with two men arrested over their alleged involvement in the bombings, Mieraili Yusufu and Bilal Mohammed.
Acting assistant police chief Lt-General Sriwara Ransibrahmanakul is heading the investigation into the 17 suspects on the run.
He insisted that wanted suspect Abudustar Abdulrahman, or Izan, was the mastermind behind the Erawan Shrine attack that killed 20 people and injured more than 100.
Police said Abudustar left Bangkok one day before the explosion and was now in Turkey.
Police investigators will meet tomorrow to follow up on the case and Sriwara will be officially handed the main investigation job.
Meanwhile police spokesman Lt-General Prawut Thavornsiri said police were in the process of inviting the Turkish envoy via the Foreign Ministry to a meeting to discuss Abudustar and a Thai suspect Wanna Suansan, who is believed to be in Turkey.
If both suspects are in Turkey, police have to ask Interpol to help locate them, because Thailand and Turkey have no extradition treaty.