The death toll from a bomb planted at a key Bangkok tourist attraction yesterday evening currently stands at 27. A police spokesperson in the capital city of Thailand says another 130 people have been taken to hospital and some are very seriously injured.
The bomb exploded just before 19:00 local time at the Erawan Shrine in the heart of the tourist district around Ploen Chit Road. Speaking to reporters after the blast, Indian national Sanjeev Vyas likened it to a searing squall of air followed by the sight of bodies laying haphazardly and motorcycles and cars in flames.
Erawan Shrine is actually dedicated to the Hindu deity Brahma, yet its colourful appearance ensures both Thai and international Buddhists visit to make merit. The shrine is a stop on most of the tours aimed at Chinese visitors.
A spokesperson at the nearby Chulalongkorn Hospital has confirmed that a significant proportion of the injured were from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the Thai tourism-minister, visited the victims at the hospital last night and said she was arranging for Chinese interpreters to help out.
The Erawan Shrine is right beside the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel. Other luxury hotels including the InterContinental Bangkok and the Renaissance Ratchaprasong are just a stone’s throw away. The area is also home to premium shopping outlets such as the CentralWorld Lifestyle Mall and Gaysorn Plaza.
Police say initial investigations point to the fact the bomb was home-made while CCTV footage seems to indicate it was planted by a female. Prawit Wongsuwan is the country’s defence-minister and he claims that the main reasons for detonating a bomb in such a crowded tourist area are to claim as many lives as possible and to destroy the national tourism industry.