With much fanfare, Thai police had offered an $84,000 reward for tips leading to arrests in the Bangkok bombing. Today, they handed out the cash—to themselves. They arrested a suspect Saturday, though the man has not been charged, let alone convicted. He may not even be the prime suspect in the Aug. 17 bombing at Bangkok's Erawan Shrine, which killed 20 people and injured more than 120. That was enough for national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung: He said he was taking the unusual step of redirecting the reward to highlight that Thailand's police are good at their jobs. "Give me the bag," he said at a news conference, turning to an aide who rushed over with stacks of cash that Somyot placed on the podium before him. "It is the ability of Thai officials that led to the arrest," he said. "This money should be given to officials who did their job."
The decision quickly added to criticism on social media over police handling of the bombing investigation. Many Thais have expressed doubt that the bombing will be solved, citing a reputation Thai police have for corruption and forcing confessions. Within days of the blast, Somyot offered a $28,000 reward to help find the perpetrators. He later said two of his friends who wished to remain nameless had chipped in $56,000 more. Police say they're certain the man arrested Saturday, who allegedly had bomb-making material in his apartment, was part of a network that planned the attack, but they haven't revealed his name, nationality, motive, or suspected relationship to the network. Police say they found more bomb-making materials yesterday in a raid on another apartment, and today they released images of two more suspects: Thai woman Wanna Suansun, 26, and a foreign man of unknown nationality. (Read more Thailand stories.)