The central Bangkok intersection where the bomb went off has been reopened to traffic, some 17 hours after the devastating explosion.
Investigators had spent all night and morning combing through the debris at Rachaprasong intersection, littered with shattered glass and blood stains. Police had closed roads within a few hundred meters (yards) of the intersection, a key and usually congested hub of the capital.
Pedestrians had been able to get closer to the scene, and many took pictures Tuesday morning from behind police tape.
-Leon Drouin-Keith in Bangkok
Hong Kong has raised its travel alert for Bangkok to “red,” advising its travelers to avoid non-essential trips to Thailand.
The Hong Kong government has said two of its residents died in the attack.
—Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong
Japanese media are reporting that a 31-year-old Japanese man is among the seriously injured. Kota Ando, an employee of East Japan Railway Company, was on his way home from work when the blast happened. Ando had moved to Bangkok in July. He had been sent by his employer to work in the office of Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. for up to one year. Bangkok has a large Japanese expat community, as many Japanese companies have offices and factories in Thailand.
– Ken Moritsugu in Tokyo
A notice on the website of the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok says three Chinese tourists were among the dead from the explosion and more than 20 others had been injured. The Hong Kong government said two of its residents died, and it is not known whether China included those fatalities in its total.
“The Chinese Embassy especially wishes to remind Chinese citizens in Thailand or who are planning to come to Thailand to strengthen awareness of their surroundings, attend to their travel safety and make rational travel plans,” the embassy said.
Chinese tourists, many on cheap package tours, make up the single biggest group of overseas visitors to Thailand, with about 4.6 million arriving last year.
Thailand’s defense minister says investigators are getting closer to determining who set off the bomb that killed at least 18 people in central Bangkok, though he did not give further details. “It is much clearer who the bombers are, but I can’t reveal right now,” Prawit Wongsuwan said Tuesday. “We have suspects. There are not many people.” Prawit says Thai authorities had no intelligence on the attack before the Monday night blast. The defense minister says the bombers intended to discredit the government and harm the economy.
“We didn’t expect this to happen in a crowded area,” he says. “They aim to destroy tourism, economy, our country. But during crisis, we can build unity.”
Police and soldiers are guarding the site of Monday’s devastating central Bangkok explosion and combing through shattered glass and other debris.
Police tape surrounded the scene at Erawan shrine Tuesday morning, and onlookers stood it to take pictures. Barricades are set up outside five-star hotels in the neighborhood and security officials are stopping cars to inspect trunks before letting them pass.
More than 12 hours after the blast, onlookers dashed for safety as shards of glass torpedoed to the ground from windows of a nearby building. Nobody appeared to have been injured.