Bangkok explosions: two injured in three blasts reported in Asean host city
Several small explosions went off across Bangkok on Friday, injuring at least four people, as the city plays host to foreign ministers from the UK, the US, China and Russia at a major international summit.
Six small bombs exploded at three different locations in the city on Friday morning, including a busy skytrain commuter station called BTS Chong Nonsi and at the side of one of the city’s busiest main roads, Rama 9. Three of the bombs exploded at a government complex north of Bangkok while a forth failed to go off.
Four people, including two street cleaners, were lightly injured in the blasts and one was taken to hospital.
A statement from the office of prime minister Prayut Chan-ocha said he had ordered an immediate investigation. “The situation is being closely monitored and security measures have been tightened. The public is urged not to panic,” the statement read.
Prayut also tweeted his condemnation of those who had planted the explosives and “damaged peace and the country’s image”.
Speaking at a press conference, Prayut said they had not yet confirmed the motive of the attacks. “There are bad people who created this situation, but we need to wait for the investigation to find out the reason behind it,’ he said.
Chakthip chaijinda, chief of the Royal Thai Police, said they were investigating whether the bombs were connected to the anti-military political activism of the “red shirt” movement or the unrest in Thailand’s deep south region.
The devices that exploded were believed to be small homemade “ping pong bombs”, the size of a tennis ball, which were not designed to cause any major damage or casualties. No group immediately claimed responsibility but the bombs appear to have been placed to embarrass the new government as they hosted the high profile international summit.
Several senior officials from foreign governments are in Thailand following the annual meeting of foreign ministers at Asean (Association of South-east Asian Nations) on Wednesday, including the UK’s new foreign minister Dominic Raab, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi.
The explosions, which were reported around 9am, did not disrupt the summit and went off just prior to a speech by Pompeo in Bangkok on Friday morning in which he commended Thailand’s recent return to democracy, following the election in March.
Friday’s explosions followed an evacuation of the Royal Thai police headquarters on Thursday night after a man was seen planting a suspicious package. The bomb squad was called, the phone signal in the area was cut and the suspect was arrested and taken into custody. The police confirmed that two fake bombs had been found and on Friday were investigating whether the two incidents were connected.