Thailand under terror: 4 dead, dozens injured in multiple explosions in Western tourist resorts
At least four people have been killed and dozens more injured in a series of co-ordinated attacks across tourist destinations in Thailand that saw bombs hidden in plant pots and flower beds detonated by mobile phones.
Western tourists fled in terror as the first two blasts hit the seaside resort of Hua Hin overnight, killing one Thai woman and wounding 21 others.
Many tourists were reportedly among those injured in the twin bomb attack, which targeted a busy street filled with bars and restaurants. The town was also hit by small explosions on Friday morning.
Hours later two small bombs were detonated in the beach town Patong, Phuket, another area popular with foreign tourists. One man was said to have been ‘lightly wounded’ in the attack. His nationality is not yet known.
Thai police and media have also reported similar strikes in the southern regions of Surat Thani and Trang, which are used as stop-off points for many visitors travelling on to the country’s islands.
Thai officials have said they believe the attacks were carried out locally and are not terror related. There is some suggestion they were launched by the opponents of the ruling junta, which recently bolstered its military power.
Nine foreigners were among the 21 people injured in the Hua Hin blasts were foreign nationals, according to local officials. Dutch, Austrian, German and Italian nationals are believed to have been affected.
The British embassy in Thailand has updated travel advice urging tourists to exercise ‘extreme caution’ and avoid public places.
Australians have been warned to exercise a ‘heightened caution’ in the country and follow the advice of local authorities.
Tourist Shane Brett described the scenes of panic after the first devices were detonated in Hua Hin.
He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: ‘I was at a bar in the main bar district in Hua Hin right outside the Hilton Hotel and at first I heard kind of a bang and everyone kind of panicked.’
Brett said revellers fled to safety, adding there were ‘a good few people injured and the whole area just panicking … the whole area was just shut down with police cars, ambulances’.
The twin blasts Hua Hin took place 20 minutes apart and are believed to have been detonated using a mobile device, police said.
General Sithichai Srisopacharoenrath said both devices were hidden inside plants on a street filled with restaurants, bars and food sellers that is popular with tourists and residents.
He said a Samsung mobile phone had been recovered that they believed was used to detonate at least one the bombs. A female street food seller was killed in one of the blasts.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Army General Danai Kritmethavee said authorities believed the attacks were coordinated and that they are investigating ‘all possible leads’.
One person died in the twin explosions in the town of Surat Thani on Friday.
Local media are reported that the first blast took place about 8am local time, with the second coming about 30 minutes later.
In Surat Thani, provincial governor Wongsiri Promchana said the bomb, hidden in a flower bed, exploded in front of the marine police offices, killing a municipal worker and injuring another man.
‘I think it’s related to the blasts in Hua Hin,’ Wongsiri told AFP, referring to the overnight attack in the town that lies further north.
There are also reports of blasts or fires in Phang Nga and Krabie.
According to local media one person died in an attack on the Centre Point shopping mall in Trang. Six more were injured.