Bomb explosion in Thai hospital leaves 21 injured on anniversary of military coup

An explosion was heard inside Phramongkutklao Hospital in Rajthevi district in Bangkok on May 22, 2017.
An explosion was heard inside Phramongkutklao Hospital in Rajthevi district in Bangkok on May 22, 2017.PHOTO: THE NATION/ANN

BANGKOK - An explosion ripped through a hospital in Bangkok on Monday (May 22) morning, injuring 21 people, Thai police said. 

The explosion took place in a waiting room for retired officers at the Phramongkutklao Hospital, a military hospital in the heart of the capital.

The officers were waiting for their medicine when the blast went off, reported The Nation.

“It’s confirmed to be a bomb,” deputy national police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul was quoted by online news website Khaosod English as saying. He added that traces of battery and electrical wires were found on the scene.
 
“Right now, authorities are checking out closed circuit cameras,” Kamthorn Aucharoen, commander of the police’s explosive ordnance team, told Reuters, adding it was not clear who was behind the attack.
 
“Eight people were admitted to hospital to observe their condition... among them is one woman who needed surgery because of shrapnel buried in her jaw,” said hospital director Saroj Keokajee, reported Agence France-Presse.
 
“The people who did this are brutal,” national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda, told reporters. “If they (the nails) had directly impacted, they could cause death.”
 
The clinic in central Bangkok is often used by serving and retired members of the armed forces but also treats civilians.  
 
Saroj said no senior military officers were near the blast.
 
Most of the wounded were hit by flying glass, the military’s national security unit said.
 

Soldiers cordoned off the hospital’s entrance, a Reuters reporter at the scene said. Thai news channel TNN24 reported that the bomb is believed to have been placed in or close to a flower vase.

 

The blast comes on the third anniversary of the 2014 military coup, which overthrew a caretaker civilian government led by the Puea Thai party. The Kingdom remains under military rule as new laws are being drafted to prepare for fresh elections, expected some next year.

It is not clear at this moment if the explosions are related to political conflict, or the long-running separatist insurgency in the Malay-Muslim dominated southern border provinces of Thailand. The latter conflict has claimed over 6,000 lives since 2004.

Monday’s explosion comes one week after another blast outside Bangkok’s National Theatre in the heart of its historic quarters.

Those responsible had used an integrated circuit timer to assemble the bomb, police earlier revealed.

New York-based Human Rights Watch condemned the hospital attack as “a cruel and inhumane action which grossly violates human rights”, Sunai Phasuk, the group’s senior Thailand researcher said on Twitter.