Weeks after the Erawan Shrine bomb attack in Bangkok that killed 20 people and wounded over 120, the parameters of responsibility for Thailand's worst terrorist atrocity are becoming clearer.
But a paradox hangs over the investigation: Even as Thai police gather more evidence on the transnational network that planned and executed the Aug. 17 attack, whose victims were mostly tourists, the chances of the findings being made public and the main perpetrators being brought to justice are receding by the day.
Despite offers of assistance from several foreign security services, Thai investigators have maintained a tight grip on the case for reasons that go beyond bruised national pride. Thailand's military government will clearly need to control the narrative that emerges from the tragedy. Shaped by the compulsions of Thai domestic politics and serious diplomatic sensitivities, that narrative will almost certainly trump any definitive conclusions over who was responsible.
Three arrests have been made. The first, on Aug. 29, was of Adem Karadag, a man of Turkic appearance but indeterminate nationality. He was detained in an apartment in Bangkok with a large cache of bomb-making materials and over 200 fake Turkish passports.
The second was a 25-year-old Uighur, Yusuf Mir Ali. According to the Chinese passport he was carrying, he was born in Xinjiang, in northwest China, home to the Uighur ethnic group. He was arrested by Cambodian authorities in Phnom Penh on Aug. 29 and handed over to the Thai military Sept. 1.
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