Bangkok bombings may be linked to politics

Police initially suspected that the attacks are linked to an insurgency in the south of Thailand. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 August 2019

Bangkok bombings may be linked to politics

  • The explosion happened during a Southeast Asian foreign ministers meeting in Bangkok
  • Four people were wounded in the attack

BANGKOK: A series of bombings in the Thai capital Bangkok last week may be linked to politics, police said on Thursday as authorities hunted for more than a dozen suspects in connection with the attacks.
Six small bombs and six incendiary devices went off last Friday as the city hosted a meeting of Southeast Asian foreign ministers that was also attended by diplomats from the United States, China and other world powers.
The blasts wounded four people and police initially suspected the attacks were linked to an insurgency in Thailand’s Muslim-dominated south that has killed more than 7,000 people since 2004.
Two suspects detained on Friday are from Narathiwat province in the restive region. They are among 15 suspects in the attacks but not all of them have ties to the south and some have fled the country, police said.
“I believe that this is linked to political issues,” Police Chief Chaktip Chaijinda said in the first police news conference since Friday’s attacks.
He did not elaborate, but said “80-90% of previous bomb cases are linked to politics, and we really want to know who is behind it this time.”
Thailand held a bitterly fought general election in March five years after the military seized power in a coup.
Former army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha was elected prime minister thanks to votes in the upper house, the Senate, which was entirely appointed by the military junta Prayuth had led since 2014.
The two detained suspects are facing charges of organized crime, attempted murder and illegal possession of explosives, police lieutenant general and lead investigator Suwat Changyodsuk told the news conference.
The two men are accused of planting two bombs, which authorities said were fake, in front of police headquarters in Bangkok a day before the coordinated blasts.


Delta fined $50,000 for discriminating against Muslim passengers

Updated 25 January 2020

Delta fined $50,000 for discriminating against Muslim passengers

  • The flight attendant said she saw Mr.X texting on his cell phone using the word “Allah” several times
  • The captain refused to let the two passengers re-board the plane

WASHINGTON: Delta Air Lines was Friday fined $50,000 by the US Department of Transportation to settle allegations it discriminated against three Muslim passengers who were ordered off their planes.
In its consent order, the department said it found Delta “engaged in discriminatory conduct” and violated anti-discrimination laws when it removed the three passengers.
In one incident on July 26, 2016, a Muslim couple were removed from Delta Flight 229 at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris after a passenger told a flight attendant their behavior made her “very uncomfortable and nervous.”
“Mrs X” was wearing a head scarf and the passenger said “Mr X” had inserted something into his watch.
The flight attendant said she saw Mr.X texting on his cell phone using the word “Allah” several times.
The captain then spoke with Delta’s corporate security, who said Mr.and Mrs.X were US citizens returning home and there were “no red flags.”
However the captain refused to let them re-board the plane.
The Department of Transportation said the captain had failed to follow Delta’s security protocol and it appeared that “but for Mr.and Mrs.X’s perceived religion, Delta would not have removed or denied them reboarding” of their flight.
The second incident covered in the order involved another Muslim passenger who boarded Flight 49 at Amsterdam heading for New York on July 31, 2016.
Other passengers and flight attendants complained about him but the first officer saw nothing unusual about him and Delta security also said “Mr A“’s record had “no red flags.”
The captain prepared the plane for departure but then returned to the gate and had Mr.A removed and his seat searched.
The Transportation Department said the captain had not followed Delta’s security protocol and the removal of Mr.A “after being cleared was discriminatory.”
Delta disagreed that it engaged in discriminatory conduct but “does not dispute that each of these two incidents could have been handled differently,” the order said.
The government said the fine “establishes a strong deterrent against future similar unlawful practices by Delta and other carriers.”
Following the July 2016 incidents, Delta said it had reviewed and enhanced its procedure to investigate suspicious activity “to make it more collaborative and objective.”