The Latest on Bangkok: Thai leader to expedite investigation

AP News
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Posted: Aug 21, 2015 9:43 AM
The Latest on Bangkok: Thai leader to expedite investigation

BANGKOK (AP) — The latest on the bombings in the Thai capital (all times local):

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8:20 p.m.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha says the investigation into Monday's bomb blast that killed 20 people and wounded scores of others at a Bangkok shrine will be expedited.

In his weekly address to the nation, Prayuth also appealed Thursday to Thais to have confidence in the authorities to find the perpetrators. He said there are developments in the case, but didn't specify them.

Prayuth also called on people to help revive Thailand's international image, which was damaged by Monday's attack. He said Thai people should make an impression on foreign tourists so they will tell their friends that Thailand is an attractive place.

— Papitchaya Boonngok, Bangkok

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7 p.m.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha says his government has accepted an offer from the U.S. ambassador for facial recognition technology in the investigation into Monday's bomb attack that killed 20 people.

Embassy spokeswoman Melissa Sweeney told The Associated Press the U.S. stands ready to assist with the investigation as needed.

She says U.S. authorities "will continue to consult closely with local authorities regarding the attack and will provide assistance as appropriate."

Prayuth, however, says the cooperation will not include U.S. investigators and is limited to the equipment.

Thai police have also raised a reward for the main bombing suspect who appears in the security camera video at the Erawan shrine shortly before the bomb went off.

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3 p.m.

Doves have been released at the Erawan shrine where a bomb blast on Monday evening killed 20 people and wounded nearly 130 others.

The doves were set free as scores of people — Bangkok residents, officials, tourists and workers — came to pay their respects to the victims on Friday. Balloons in the colors of the Thai national flag and a large banner reading "Stronger Together" were put in place at the shrine.

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12:30 p.m.

Thai police are stepping up patrols in a bid to ensure jittery tourists that it's safe to visit the kingdom.

Military spokesman Col. Winthai Suvaree says the number and frequency of security patrols both in uniforms and plainclothes have been increased around tourist sites.

He says security agencies have assessed that Monday's bomb attack at the Erawan shrine in downtown Bangkok that killed 20 people and wounded scores of others was an act to damage the economy and the tourism industry as well as the image of Thailand. Another bomb was thrown Tuesday at a busy river pier but it fell into a canal and caused no damage or injuries.

Of the nearly 130 wounded, 63 remain in hospitals.

Winthai also told reporters Friday that police are in the process of tracking and arresting those sharing information on social media that create panic and confusion. He did not elaborate.

— Nattasude Anusonadisai, Bangkok

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Noon

Among those taking part in the ceremonies honoring the victims of Monday's bomb blast at the Erawan shrine are Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu religious leaders.

Office worker Pratuang Limkul also came to pay her respects. She says: "(I came to) send the spirits of those in this place to rest in peace."

— Yves Dam Van, Bangkok

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7 a.m.

Religious ceremonie are being held to honor the victims of the deadly bombing at a Bangkok shrine four days ago.

High-ranking government officials and diplomats are taking part in the ceremony involving five different religions in memory of the 20 people who died. More than 120 others were hurt in the blast. No one has taken responsibility for the attack.