BANGKOK - Thai police on Saturday said an arrest warrant had been issued for an ethnic "Uighur" man over last month's deadly Bangkok blast, for the first time identifying a suspect as a member of the Chinese minority group.
The announcement follows weeks of speculation over the motive and perpetrators of the attack which killed 20 people, the majority ethnic Chinese visitors, at a religious shrine in the capital's bustling downtown district on August 17.
Analysts had increasingly pointed towards a link with the mostly Muslim Uighur minority from northwestern China's Xinjiang region but Thai police had up until now refused to confirm any such links.
"He is Uighur according to his passport," national police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri told AFP, after authorities released a photo of the latest suspect identified as Abudusataer Abudureheman or "Ishan" of "Uighur" ethnicity and "Chinese" nationality.
Uighurs have long-accused Beijing of religious and cultural repression with scores believed to have fled in recent years, often heading to Turkey via Southeast Asia.
Thailand's deportation of 109 Uighur refugees to China in July sparked violent protests in Turkey, where nationalist hardliners see the minority as part of a global Turkic-speaking family.