Bangkok bomb attack could signal a series of bombs elsewhere in Asia. Terrorism & extremism has no place in religion.
Bangkok bomb attack death toll rises to 21, over 100 injured as hunt for suspects intensifies
Authorities blame explosion at famous Erawan Shrine on forces who “want to destroy Thailand’s economy”
At least 18 people were killed and many injured when a bomb exploded yesterday outside a popular religious shrine in Bangkok, scattering body parts and debris across the city’s commercial core.
Thai media reported 4 foreigners among the dead, including at least 2 from China and 1 from the Philippines. Most of those injured were tourists from China and Taiwan, other reports said.
Another 15 mainland tourists were injured during the blast, state-run Xinhua reported late Monday, citing the Chinese embassy.
An emergency response mechanism had been activated, and embassy officials had visited the injured in hospital, the report said.
At least one Hong Kong tourist was injured, suffering wounds to his leg from flying debris. The man’s wife said the family was waiting to cross the street near the Erawan Shrine in Chidlom, when they heard the blast ring out from across the street. Their daughter’s arm was also slightly injured.
“A lot of people were in the middle of the road, waiting to cross the street … and then the explosion came. It exploded once and we were very frightened and started moving back,” she told RTHK. “It was only then we realised [we were] hurt.”
She saw bodies and injured people from across the street and described the scene as “chaos”.
“When the explosion happened I had no idea what it was and when it went ‘boom’, we immediately started stepping back,” she said.
“My husband was hurt. A piece of lead or something was stuck in [his leg]. All I know was there was a lot of blood spilling out.”
Charred and shattered motorcycles littered the scene, along with hunks of concrete from the shrine, with pools of blood on the pavement and bodies covered by white sheets.
“It was a bomb, I think it was inside a motorcycle … it was very big, look at the bodies,” said one rescue volunteer, who did not want to be named.
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, suspicion was likely to fall on the kingdom’s rival political factions. Thailand has been seared by a near-decade of political violence that has left the country deeply divided and seen repeated rounds of deadly street protests and bombings.
Many observers had predicted a fresh round of violence after the military seized power in a coup in May last year, toppling a civilian government led by Yingluck Shinawatra.
Thailand’s defence minister said the bombers had targeted “foreigners” to try to damage the tourist industry, which is a rare bright spot in an otherwise gloomy economy.
“It was a TNT bomb … the people who did it targeted foreigners and to damage tourism and the economy,” said Prawit Wongsuwong, a former general who is believed to have been one of the key coup-makers.
Thailand is also fighting a festering insurgency in its Muslim-majority southernmost provinces bordering Malaysia. More than 6,400 people – mostly civilians – have been killed there.
Bangkok bomb: At the scene of the deadly explosion – BBC News
In the so-called “Deep South”, bombs are a near-daily reality alongside shootings and ambushes of security forces.
Civilians are overwhelmingly the target, but the conflict which sees local rebels calling for greater autonomy from the Thai state has stayed highly localised.
The Erawan is an enormously popular shrine to the Hindu god Brahma but is visited by thousands of Buddhist devotees every day. It is located on a traffic-choked intersection in Bangkok’s busy commercial hub and surrounded by three major shopping malls.
Additional reporting by Ernest Kao
PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 August, 2015, 8:48pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 August, 2015, 9:37am