Bangkok blast: Youngest victim wounded returns to Hong Kong for treatment

Buddhist monks praying for bomb blast victims at the Erawan shrine in Bangkok on Aug 24.
Buddhist monks praying for bomb blast victims at the Erawan shrine in Bangkok on Aug 24. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (AFP) - A nine-year-old girl left seriously injured by a bomb which killed 20 people at a Bangkok shrine - the youngest person wounded by the blast - returned to Hong Kong on Thursday.

The girl, named as Jasmine Chu by local media, flew back to her home city in the early hours of the morning, with her father saying that she had turned the corner in terms of her recovery.

Last week's bombing at the Erawan shrine in the Thai capital's commercial heart was the country's worst single mass-casualty attack.

Ten days on, police have failed to track down a prime suspect captured on security cameras leaving a bag at the site moments before the blast.

The majority of those killed were ethnic Chinese worshippers from across Asia, who flocked to the Hindu shrine in the belief that prayers there bring good fortune.

"I am definitely relieved to be back," Jasmine's father Chu King told reporters.

"Now I hope my daughter will recover soon. In the past two days she has been getting better and she is in a better mood.

"She is just worried about her school and her homework (after summer vacation)."

The bomb tore into Jasmine's leg and she had three rounds of surgery in Bangkok - including a seven-hour operation to remove a large piece of shrapnel from her thigh, the South China Morning Post reported.

Chu and his daughter were on a five-day holiday in Bangkok when they were caught in the blast.

A Thai friend who was with them was killed, the Post reported, while Chu escaped with minor injuries.

A spokesman for Hong Kong's Princess Margaret Hospital, where Jasmine is now being treated, said her condition was stable.

"Doctors are examining her overall condition and then it will be decided what sort of follow-up action should be taken," the spokeswoman said.

Chu said that some shrapnel remained in his daughter's body but surgeons had decided against removing it.

"The focus (of treatment) will now be on physiotherapy," Chu said.

The youngest victim of the bomb was a four-year-old girl who was killed.

She was from a Malaysian family which was decimated by the blast, with five of the seven members visiting the shrine killed.