Party first, bomb later

The three Iranian suspects allegedly involved in a failed bomb plot in Bangkok, spent time last week in Pattaya partying with Thai escorts, officials at the Immigration Department‘s Chon Buri office said yesterday

Immigration officials there have identified a Thai woman in Pattaya who had escorted the Iranian bomb suspects during their stay in the resort town.

Her account, and photographs taken with her mobile phone, seem to confirm that the suspects know one another.

The woman, in her twenties, and identified only as Nan, told the immigration officers that she met Mohammad Khazaei, who was detained at Suvarnabhumi airport late on Tuesday, near the Balihai area in Pattaya. She said the Iranian asked her to escort him during his stay there because he was not good at speaking English.

Ms Nan later asked two friends to escort Mr Khazaei’s two companions.

They were later identified from a group photo on Ms Nan’s mobile phone as Saeid Moradi, who was gravely injured in Tuesday’s attacks in the Sukhumvit Soi 71 area, and Masoud Sedaghat Zadeh, the third bomb suspect who was arrested in Malaysia yesterday.

During their stay in Pattaya, from Feb 8 to 13 according to their hotel’s registration, Ms Nan and her friends hung out with the three men. In one group gathering, shown in a photo, they were winding down in a bar in a hotel. Ms Nan said they had drinks and played snooker together.

The Pattaya hotel where the three suspects stayed. PORNPROM SARTTRABHAYA

Ms Nan was with Mr Khazaei in his room as well but noticed nothing unusual except one time when he barred her from approaching a closet in the room. On the last day, Monday, Mr Khazaei told her that he was going home. So she phoned a taxi to pick him up.

National police chief Priewpan Damapong said police took Ms Nan to the immigration bureau in Bangkok to make Mr Khazaei feel more at ease.

Earlier, the suspect had showed signs of stress and refused to eat. After he met Ms Nan, he appeared more relaxed and agreed to eat some food, Pol Gen Priewpan said.

Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post by Piyaporn Wongruang.