4 injured after multiple blasts hit Bangkok as Thailand hosts Asean meeting

Onlookers and the police gather at the scene of an explosion in Bangkok on Aug 2, 2019. PHOTO: AFP
Police seen at the scene of an explosion in Bangkok on Aug 2, 2019. PHOTO: AFP
Bomb squad inspecting the Rama 9 Road site. The bomb found there appeared to be a homemade bomb which police said injured at least two street sweepers. ST PHOTO: HATHAI TECHAKITTERANUN

BANGKOK - A series of bombs blasts rocked Bangkok in several locations on Friday (Aug 2) morning, as the city hosts a regional summit attended by world leaders including United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Police believe homemade bombs were behind the six explosions which left four people slightly injured and rush-hour commuters scrambling.

A seventh unexploded device was later recovered by police.

Three small explosive devices went off near the busy BTS Skytrain Chong Nonsi station in central Bangkok before 9am, with at least one explosion heard in front of the King Power Mahanakhon Building, which is near the elevated station, and another at a park under the station.

Commuters later posted photos of a shattered glass screen at the station on social media.

"I was just stepping out of the station and I heard a very loud bang. It was very scary. There was a flash of light and some smoke. People were panicking and rushing out," tweeted @muchmuchmellow.

A cracked glass panel at Chong Nonsi BTS station following explosions nearby on Aug 2. PHOTO: @TARNLE/TWITTER

The station closed its Gates 2 and 4 following the explosions. A spokesman for the Erawan Emergency Medical Centre said two of the injured were working at the Mahanakhon building.

There was also an explosion in a residential area in the city.

"Residents said they saw some technical students drop something (before the explosions), so we're chasing the lead," police officer Teerapong Wongratpitak told The Straits Times as officers combed the housing estate for clues.

Fruit vendor Balee Inpracon, 23, who was in the area when the bomb went off, initially dismissed the incident.

"I didn't think anything serious happened because I thought it was just another (electrical) transformer explosion. It happens a lot in this area," she said.

Several explosions were also heard at the government complex in Chaeng Wattana on the outskirts of Bangkok, but nobody was injured.

Police on Thursday said they found two fake bombs near the Centara Hotel, where the 52nd Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting and related gatherings attended by world leaders are being held.

Two men linked to this incident have been arrested.

Security has since been tightened in the vicinity of the hotel, and at the nearby Central World shopping mall, where visitors' backpacks were thoroughly checked on Friday.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who has ordered an investigation, condemned the attacks and urged the public not to panic.

"We must demonstrate our collective effort to fight against those who intend to harm the country. Let's not have them stand with us in society," he said in a statement.

Additional reporting by Tan Hui Yee

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