27 killed as blast near Hindu shrine rocks Bangkok
Bangkok: A bomb planted
at one of the Thai capital’s most renowned Hindu shrines on Monday killed at least
27 people, including three foreign tourists, and wounded scores in an attack
the government called a bid to destroy the economy.
There was no immediate
claim of responsibility for the blast at the Erawan shrine at a major
city-centre intersection. Thai forces are fighting a low-level Muslim
insurgency in the predominantly Buddhist country’s south, but those rebels have
rarely launched attacks outside their heartland.
intended to destroy the economy and tourism, because the incident occurred in
the heart of the tourism district,” Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told
Several media outlets
had earlier reported that 27 people were killed but national police chief
Somyot Poompanmuang told reporters the death toll was 16 in an attack he said
was unprecedented in Thailand.
“It was a pipe bomb,”
Somyot said. “It was placed inside the Erawan shrine.” The shrine, on a busy
corner near top hotels, shopping centres, offices and a hospital, is a major
attraction, especially for visitors from East Asia, including China. Many
ordinary Thais also worship there.
The government would
set up a ‘war room’ to coordinate the response to the blast, the Nation
television channel quoted Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha as saying.
Two people from China
and one from the Philippines were among the dead, a tourist police officer
said. A rescue agency said 81 people were wounded and media said most of them
were from China and Taiwan.
“It was like a meat
market,” said Marko Cunningham, a New Zealand paramedic working with a Bangkok
ambulance service, who said the blast had left a two-meter-wide (6-foot)
“There were bodies everywhere.
Some were shredded. There were legs where heads were supposed to be. It was
horrific,” Cunningham said, adding that people several hundred meters away had