Bangkok blast: Victims’ kin pray at bombed shrine, blast site reopens to publichttps://indianexpress.com/article/world/asia/bangkok-explosion-site-of-bomb-blast-reopens-to-public/

Bangkok blast: Victims’ kin pray at bombed shrine, blast site reopens to public

The latest on Monday night's bombing at a shrine next to a busy central Bangkok intersection.

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Bangkok bombing: Family members of a bombing victim pray at the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. A central Bangkok shrine reopened Wednesday to the public after Monday’s bomb blast as authorities searched for a man seen in a grainy security video who they say was the prime suspect in an attack authorities called the worst in the country’s history. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

13:45 p.m

Thai police are offering a reward for information on bombing suspects.

Police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri says in a tweet that 1 million baht — equivalent to $28,080 — is being offered for any word on bomber or bombers suspected of planting the explosive device that went off at a downtown shrine on a busy Monday evening, killing 20 people and wounding nearly 130 others.

A series of photos of one suspect have been released to the public. They show a man in a yellow T-shirt and carrying a backpack.

Police say they believe he wasn’t acting alone.

12:45 p.m.

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A teary-eyed young Singaporean who lost his mother in Monday’s bombing and relatives of four members of a single Malaysian family who died in the blast have offered prayers and incense sticks at the Erawan shrine.

The relatives were led by a dozen Buddhist monks who performed a ritual as the shrine reopened to the public Wednesday morning.

The remains of the four Malaysians are scheduled to be returned to their hometown in Penang state later Wednesday. They were traveling on holiday in Bangkok in a group of seven.

Lee Tiang Heng, the grandfather of the 4-year-old Lee Jing Sian, who was among the dead, told Malaysia’s New Strait Times daily newspaper: “The whole family is devastated with the news and we are finding it hard to come to terms with their deaths.”

Malaysia’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the bombing was a “heinous … unforgivable crime” and called on Thai authorities to expedite the investigation.

12:20 p.m.

Thai police say the bomber who is being hunted in the Monday explosion that killed 20 people at the downtown Bangkok shrine did not act alone.

National chief of police Somyot Poompanmoung says “he didn’t do it alone for sure. It’s a network.”

Investigators believe a man seen in security video wearing a yellow T-shirt and carrying a backpack set off the explosion. Police have released several photos of the man, with and without the backpack, and are asking the public to provide information about him.

— Nattasuda Anusonadisai, Bangkok

11:45 a.m.

The bomb crater at the downtown Erawan shrine where the Monday evening explosion killed 20 people has been paved over with a fresh coat of white cement.

Workers cemented the crater before it reopened to the public early Wednesday.

The original metal fence surrounding the statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of Hindu god Brahma, is still dented from the impact of the bomb blast. Police say the explosive device was contained in a pipe and weighed 3 kilograms (more than 6 pounds).

A white tarp is draped over the fence and the freshly cemented area is sealed off by racks to keep people away, as many have thronged to the shrine to offer prayers and condolences.

— Kiko Rosario, Bangkok

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10:30 a.m.

Residents of Bangkok are posting messages of unity and condolences alongside flowers and incense sticks at a downtown shrine where a Monday evening bomb explosion killed 20 people and wounded nearly 130 others.

One of those who prayed at the Erawan shrine Wednesday morning was office worker Nuansupha Sarunsikarin. She says: “I’m depressed for those innocent people who had to pay for something they’re not involved with, and now they’ve got no chance to live their lives because of someone else’s agenda. I feel sad for them, their families and relatives.”

Messages posted on a board at the shrine included one in English: “Be strong. Be together.”

The popular open-air shrine, built in 1956, houses the statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of Hindu god Brahma.

— Kiko Rosario, Bangkok

8:30 a.m.

The shrine where a bomb blast killed 20 people and wounded more than 120 on Monday night reopened in downtown Bangkok on Wednesday morning. Local residents offered prayers, incense and flowers at the shrine at one of the capital’s busiest intersections.

7 p.m.

Bangkok police say a new explosion at a ferry pier used by tourists may be connected to Monday’s bombing at a downtown shrine, which killed 20 people and injured more than 120. No one was hurt in Tuesday’s blast. Police said it was also caused by a pipe bomb. They said the bomb was thrown from a bridge and fell into the Chao Phraya River, where it exploded near the pier where tourist boats frequently stop. Security camera video showed a sudden blast of water over a walkway at the pier as bystanders ran for safety. Police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said the blast could be related to the shrine bombing.

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6:10 p.m.

A tourist agency says 100 percent of its Hong Kong customers have canceled their bookings for travel to Bangkok after a bombing at a downtown shrine killed 20 people and injured more than 120.

New Way Travel, a Bangkok-based agency that caters to Hong Kong tourists, said Tuesday that all tour groups scheduled to arrive in coming days had canceled.

The no-shows came as the Hong Kong government raised its travel alert for Bangkok to “red,” advising its citizens to avoid non-essential trips to Thailand. Two Hong Kong residents died in the attack on the shrine, a popular tourist site.

But Soon Un Tour, a Bangkok-based agency that deals with clients from Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China, said it had received no cancellations.

It said tourists currently in Thailand are calm and have made no complaints.

– Penny YiWang in Bangkok

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5:10 p.m.

A Thai police spokesman says a man seen in security video wearing a yellow T-shirt and carrying a backpack is believed to have set off the explosion at the Bangkok shrine.

“The yellow shirt guy is not just the suspect. He is the bomber,” Police Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri told The Associated Press. Prawut earlier said the man “is a suspect” and had released several photos of him, with and without the backpack, on a social media platform. The images were apparently taken from closed-circuit video at the Erawan Shrine before the bombing occurred around 7 p.m. Monday near a busy Bangkok intersection.

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Video footage posted separately on Thai media appeared to show the same man sitting on a bench at the crowded shrine, then taking off the backpack and leaving it behind as he walked away.

Nattasuda Anusonadisai in Bangkok

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3:20 p.m.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told the nation in his first televised address since the blast that the government will expedite “all investigative efforts to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” but said nothing specific about suspects or the status of the investigation.

He urged the nation to be united and called on the media, traditional and social, to provide constructive news rather than coverage or commentary that would be contentious or have a misleading effect on the investigation.

He promised foreigners living in Thailand that the government would do its best to safeguard their security, property and interests.

Prayuth also asked that citizens remain vigilant to any irregular activities.

Grant Peck in Bangkok

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3 p.m.

A day after Bangkok’s deadly bomb attack there has been a second explosion in the capital, this time at a ferry pier, but no one was hurt, police say.

Police Senior Sgt. Maj. Worapong Boonthawee says an explosive device was thrown from the Taksin Bridge on Tuesday afternoon and blew up at Sathorn Pier after falling into the Chao Phraya River below. “There is no injury,” he says.

Security camera footage shows a sudden blast of water dousing people on a walkway at the pier, as bystanders ran for safety.

—Nattasuda Anusonadisai in Bangkok

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2 p.m.

Deputy government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that of the 20 people killed in Monday’s blast, five were confirmed to be Thais, four were Chinese, including two from Hong Kong, two were Malaysians and one was from Singapore. The nationalities of the eight remaining individuals were unknown.

—Nattasuda Anusonadisai in Bangkok

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12:30 p.m.

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

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11:45 a.m.

Thai officials have raised the death toll to 20 in Monday night’s central Bangkok bombing, and the number injured has risen to 140.

The new numbers come from the Narinthorn emergency medical rescue center, which previously said 18 people had been killed and 117 hurt.

—Nattasuda Anusonadisai in Bangkok

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11:00 a.m.

Japanese media are reporting that a 31-year-old Japanese man was 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

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9:45 a.m.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha promised to “hurry and find the bombers.”

“We haven’t concluded who did this, but they definitely are bad people,” he told journalists before a Tuesday morning Cabinet meeting. “No matter what their intentions are, they took lives of innocent people.”

“This is the worst incident that has ever happened in Thailand,” he said. “There have been minor bombs or just noise, but this time they aim for innocent lives. They want to destroy our economy, our tourism.”

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“I have seen the footage, we have some suspects but it is not so clear. We have to find them first.”

—Nattasuda Anusonadisai in Bangkok

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9:30 a.m.

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.

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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.

—Christopher Bodeen in Beijing