Bangkok explosions: Thai capital hit by six bomb blasts at different locations as it hosts Asean security summit, police say

PM condemns ‘those causing the situation which destroys peace and damages the country’s image’

Adam Withnall
Asia Editor
Friday 02 August 2019 08:23
Bangkok bomb explosions rock city during morning rush hour

Six bomb blasts went off at a number of locations across Bangkok on Friday, as the Thai capital hosted a key regional security summit.

A seventh device was recovered unexploded, officials said, and the Thai prime minister has ordered an urgent investigation to find the perpetrators.

Four people were injured in the blasts, none seriously, according to a central medical facility. Images from one bomb site showed three street cleaners looking dazed and getting treatment from medics.

The first two explosions took place near metro stations in the city centre, just before 9am during the morning rush-hour, with another blast occurring near the 77-storey King Power Mahanakhon tower.

And shortly afterwards, a blast was heard at a government complex housing several ministries in the northern part of the city. So far there has been no claim of responsibility.

“I would like to condemn those causing the situation which destroys peace and damages the country’s image,” said prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Twitter.

“I have instructed officials to take care of public safety and those affected promptly.”

Prawit Wongsuwan, the deputy prime minister, told reporters that police had arrested two suspects, and accused the bombers of trying to “create a situation”.

On Thursday police had found two fake bombs near the venue of the meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). The meeting was not interrupted.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo are among the regional and global representatives attending the forum.

It was not immediately clear whether the bombings were designed to target the summit, or if they were linked to Thailand’s recent democratic election, in which the country’s military junta formally gave up power – but coup general Prayuth remained in office.

Analysts say the use of small, generally harmless bombs, is a not uncommon part of the Thai political scene, often characterised by power struggles between factions within the country’s highly politicised security forces.

Bombings are usually blamed on those in opposition at the time, though substantial arrests are rarely made.

Additional reporting by agencies

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