Six bombs explode in Bangkok as city hosts major security summit
(CNA) – Six small bombs exploded at three locations in Bangkok on Friday (Aug 2), injuring four people and rattling the Thai capital as it hosted a Southeast Asian security meeting that includes top diplomats from the United States and China.
The first small explosions were heard during rush hour, just before 9am (10am Singapore time), at two sites in central Bangkok. Further blasts hit a government complex hosting several ministries in the north of the city.
Four people were injured, the Erawan Medical Center said. It added that the injuries were not serious and the four people were being treated at hospitals.
Three of those hurt were women cleaning the street when a bomb went off. Pictures on local websites showed them looking dazed and getting treatment from medics. One was taken into an ambulance.
The other casualty was near the 77-storey King Power Mahanakhon building, one of the tallest in Bangkok.
The Bangkok Post reported that glass at the Chong Nonsi BTS Skytrain station in central Bangkok “shattered after a loud bang”.
At least two exits at the station were closed, it said.
Police Colonel Kamtorn Uicharoen told Reuters a total of six bombs exploded. One was recovered before it blew up.
The bombs were improvised explosive devices triggered by timer, he said.
The devices were believed to be so-called “ping pong bombs”, the size of a tennis ball. They appeared to be symbolic attacks aimed at embarrassing the government during the major summit but not designed to cause mass casualties.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-Ocha on Friday ordered an investigation and condemned those behind the blasts.
“A group of ill-intended people have recently incited violence while the government is propelling the country forward,” he said.
He did not identify the group, but urged Thais to cooperate with security forces.
BOMBS RATTLE CITY
Bangkok is currently hosting a regional security meeting of foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their counterparts from world powers including the United States, China and Russia.
None of the blasts on Friday were in the immediate area of the meeting venue.
China’s top diplomat Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are attending the forum, along with Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and other regional and global officials.
Thai foreign ministry official Arthayudh Srisamoot said the blasts had no impact at the summit. Two fake bombs were discovered nearby on Thursday and police said two people had been arrested in connection with planting them.
Bangkok was last hit by a series of small bomb blasts in 2017. One man was jailed for planting a bomb that wounded 21 people at a hospital.
The city’s worst bombing was in 2015 when 20 people were killed in an attack for which two Chinese ethnic Uighur men were arrested.