As Thai police hunt for suspects in Bangkok’s deadly bomb blast on Monday, a second explosion hit the city yesterday. Fortunately, the second attempt, a bomb thrown early yesterday afternoon at Sathorn pier, failed to cause injuries.
The Bangkok Post reported witnesses to the second blast saying someone hurled an explosive device from the Sathorn bridge near a parking lot for pickup truck taxis. It bounced into the water and exploded there without causing damage.
Monday’s bomb, however, was deadly and the worst act of terrorism on Thai soil. It killed at least 22 people and injured 140. It was apparently deigned to cause maximum casualties. Thai police are looking for a man who appeared to walk into the Hindu shrine where the bomb went off. He was wearing a black backpack and was then seen shortly afterward without it, the BBC reported.
Police have released surveillance footage of the suspect Tuesday (see video below). The man is wearing a yellow T-shirt and carrying a black backpack.
Closed-circuit television footage posted on Thai media apparently shows the suspect leaving a backpack, taking a photo and walking out on the street. It can be viewed below.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued an immediate alert, as follows:
- On 17 August 2015, a bomb attack at the Erawan shrine at Chidlom in central Bangkok killed approximately 20 people and injured more than 120. Thai authorities continue to investigate the incident. Travellers may notice an increased security presence in the capital and other major centres in coming days. There may also be enhanced security screening measures in place at major airports. Australians should remain vigilant in public places, monitor the media for latest information and follow the instructions of local authorities.
- We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Thailand due to the possibility of civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attack, including in Bangkok and Phuket. The security situation remains volatile. You should pay close attention to your personal security at all times and where possible monitor the local media, including social media, for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Qantas issued a statement saying passengers visiting Thailand could book earlier flights home if they wanted to leave Bangkok.
Travellers who want to cancel future flights into the city can opt to change their destination, or get a credit on their unused tickets. The special provisions are available for tickets issued on or before 17 August 2015, for travel to and from Bangkok between 18 and 25 August 2015.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha described Monday’s atrocity as the worst attack in the country’s history.
“(In the past) there have been minor bombs or just noise, but this time they aimed for innocent lives. They want to destroy our economy, our tourism,” he said.
Sadly, the attack came just as Thailand’s tourism industry was doing really well. The visitor arrivals count recently surged by one million in only nine days, with the arrival of the country’s 19 millionth visitor just a few days ago.
The Thai currency, the baht, fell to its lowest level in six years yesterday.
Meanwhile, The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) conveyed its deepest sympathy and condolences to all the victims of the blast and their families at this traumatic time.
“The thoughts and prayers of the Thai people are with you,” a TAT statement said.
“The Thai tourism industry has mobilised the support of its members to assist and facilitate tourists affected by the incident, such as providing interpreters and helping with immediate travel arrangements.
“The Royal Thai Police have requested that locals and tourists exercise caution when out and about in Bangkok. The Police have also increased their presence and put extra security in place at all of Bangkok’s key tourist areas in response to the incident. Citywide patrols are in place to ensure the safety of locals and visitors to the Thai capital.”
TAT emphasised that overall, life in the city is continuing as normal. Residents and visitors there say the same.
“All public services and banks are available to the public,” TAT stated.
“As for tourist businesses, other tourist sites, hotels, restaurants, tour operators, and shopping malls remain open, while transportation links, major roads and airports continue to operate. This includes Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain and MRT services and both Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi International Airports receive domestic and international flights.
“In addition, events that the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is supporting remain as scheduled, such as the “Way of Silk, the Way of Thai: A Tribute to Her Majesty the Queen” silk exhibition in Bangkok during 17-30 August, TBEX Asia 2015 during 15-17 October and the nationwide Loi Krathong festivities in November, as well as all other domestic and overseas marketing activities.
“TAT is monitoring and assessing the situation in Bangkok and will be providing regular updates.”
Useful contact for tourists: TAT Call Centre 1672.
Written by Peter Needham