Bombs in Bangkok
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Bombs in Bangkok

11: 48 am I have started a new post.

2:40 am
News is drying up and I am not keen on watching Thai infomercials. Will update tomorrow.

1:53 am
Newley links to a map from the BBC on the location of the earlier bombings. For those who don’t know Bangkok well, it is very useful.

1:45 am From Thai Rath:

Quick summary of the article: For 4 of the bombs, Victory Monument, Saphan Kwai, Klong Toei, and Seacon Square, the Police say the bombs were detonated by watch and not mobile phone.

Channel 11 reports that nails were used in the bombs – ie it is the shrapnel which is deadly.

1:29 am According to ITV, merit making ceremonies for early tomorrow morning have now been cancelled – this includes Sanam Luang.

1:20 am
ITV reports on a possible bomb found before it exploded at Suan Lum Night Bazaar – this is on Wireless Road next to the Japanese Embassy and close to the US Embassy. Embassy Central really. It is a market which sells many kinds of products to Thais and foreigners. Very limited reports so far and no confirmation.

The Nation now reports:

A suspected bomb was located at the Buddy Bar on Khao Sarn Road about half an hour after midnight and tourists were evacuated from the area.

By 1 am, police also disposed another bomb at the Lumpini Night Bazaar before it explodes.

1:10 am The Nation’s report on a bomb exploding in Khao San Road is rebutted by Thai channel ITV who say only a suspicious package was found so the whole area has been cleared as a precaution.

1:04 am has a comment:

All indications are that these events will be laid at the feet of TRT. It was surprising to see leaks to the press so soon after the bombings citing the “old clique” as being behind the attacks–of course, this type of accusation would also be expected to manage public perceptions that the troubles in the deep south have come to Bangkok.

COMMENT: I agree.

Channel 7 is reporting that most foreigners were not told about the previous bomb attacks and many were unaware.

Whoever was behind it, it is most definitely terrorism.

12:53 am According to The Manager the bombs at Central World went off at 11:59 pm. This was the planned venue of the massive celebrations and usually Rajadimiri Road is closed. The bomb would have caused massive casualties. At least the Bangkok Governor had the sense to call off the celebrations earlier in the evening- he is from the Democrat Party – otherwise the causalities would have been significantly higher. It says 6 foreigners and 1 Thai was injured and have been transferred to the Police Hospital – only 100 metres from the place.

12:49 am: ITV reports there have been other attacks apart from Central World, but they go back to their normal programming now.

12:42 am:
This is getting more serious as The Nation reports:

The third bomb exploded at the Buddy Bar on Khao Sarn Road.

COMMENT: For Thai speakers you can read (or if you really want listen to) Sondhi from The Manager’s rant on how it was Thaksin who was behind it.

NOTE: Most Thai channels are still on normal programming. Apologies for my French, but this is fucking unbelievable.

12:40 am: Channel 3 reports that the authorities have closed the word near Central World (Rajadimiri Road?). They say that 4 foreigners have been injured and are severely injured.

12:34 am:
According to ITV, there have been 2 new explosions elsewhere in Bangkok including Central World Trade Centre. 6 foreigners have been injured. One western female has lost her leg(s).

NOTE: From what I have heard, one bomb was at the klong (small river where they have a boat ferry) near Central World and another was at the telephone box near the intersection near Central World (I assume they mean the Ratchasprong intersection).

COMMENT: What on earth this will do to the tourism industry. I am quite happy I stayed at home tonight.

I am more leaning towards that it was the terrorists from the southern border provinces.

11:24 pm
ScandAsia has a post on the bombs. It is a very good summary of the situation. Key quote:

Police and military intelligence sources said that they had learned during the past month that a plan to bring bombs to explode in Bangkok was in the making when they had checked a home in Banang Satar district in Yala in the south of Thailand. They beleived it was part of a plan to place bombs in Bangkok during New Year. A map of Bangkok had been found with many places marked, including Victory Monument, Klong Toey Rama IV, Ramkhamhaeng University, Siam Paragon, Zea Rangsit, Seacon Square and Don Muang Airport being marked.

11:10 pm Bangkok blogger Newley also has a post with some news links.

11:00 pm
Matichon quotes that a government spokesman as saying it was not the old government (“รัฐบาลเก่า”), but Prime Minister Surayud was less committal saying that it was not yet possible to conclude who was behind the bombs.

10:40 pm The anti-Thaksin newspaper, The Manager, has this headline “ตร.สรุประเบิดกลางเมือง 6 จุด ตาย 2 เชื่อเป็นฝีมือพวกคลื่นบนน้ำ ที่ไม่รักชาติ”

(My translation: Police conclude that bombs in 6 places, 2 dead, believe that it is the work of the undercurrents who don’t love the country).

COMMENT: Sondhi is as predictable as ever, but it is funny as the article quotes the Police Spokesman as saying that the bombs were not the work of the undercurrents.

NOTE: Three of the 6 bombs were located at various police booths.

Ok, we have some news coverage again. Both CNN and BBC had news coverage at 10pm. Government owned Channel 11 spoke to some police/military guy saying that it is not the undercurrents (ie Thaksin/TRT) who were behind the violence, but “overcurrents who we all know” (คลื่นบนน้ำที่ทุกคนทราบ)? I wish I knew who he was talking about.

COMMENT: Possibilities:
1. Thaksin/TRT/anti-coup forces. Do they have the capability to stage coordinated attacks in Bangkok?
2. Terrorists in the southern border provinces. It would be a massive step up to stage an attack outside of the southern border provinces.
3. Security forces themselves. Just imagine the damage to the military if this was true and they were caught.
4. Some other group. Who? It doesn’t appear to be Al Qaeda or JI, well it would be a massive change of tactics if it was.

NOTE: The bomb at the Victory Monument was close to the Saxophone pub – for those who know it.

9:54 pm
ITV reports that Prime Minister Surayud has visited the injured at Rajawithi hospital.

No more news coverage for the moment all channels have resumed normal programming for the moment.

9:50 pm
ITV have video footage of the intersection Kae Rai, close to the Mall Ngam Wong Wan of a more recent explosion I mentioned below at 9:34 pm. News reports coming in from everywhere of suspicious packages.

9:40 pm
Channel 5 just published the names of 16 people who were injured at Victory Monument.

9:34 pm
According to ITV (UPDATE: near the Mall) at the Mall Ngam Wong Wan, a suspicious package was found at 9:23pm. It is believed to be a bomb with a watch as a timer and nails inside the package. One bomb went off, two more were found before they went off.

COMMENT: This is very similar to the violence in southern Thailand although it is mainly mobile phones used as timers.

9:29 pm
The Nation is quoting sources who blame Thaksin for the violence and this will lead to the seizure of his assets. Thai Rak Thai denies any knowledge.

9:26 pm ITV is talking to a paramedic/nurse from Rajwithi Hospital (very close to Victory Monument) and saw 5 or 6 people lying on the ground.

9:16 pm
ITV talking to Assistant Army Commander Anupong that military forces are on the ground in Bangkok. Says that the police must work properly and should assist the military (COMMENT: ???).

9:09 pm
COMMENT: Coup leader Gen Sonthi is not in Thailand. He is in Saudi Arabia for the Haj.

9:03 pm
Lost Boy has pictures and reports.

9:00 pm
According to ITV, the Bangkok Governor Apirak confirms that New Year celebrations at Central World have been cancelled. Skytrain is still open as normal. Maybe I will go out later.

8:56 pm
According to Channel 5, 1 person killed at Victory Monument and 17 injured, but ITV says 2 people killed and one person’s legs who were blown off. The bomb was close to the bus information counter at the Victory Monument.

Authorities are still now saying who was behind the violence.

8:51 pm
According to Channel 5, Central World celebrations have been cancelled and showing pictures of people going home.

The Manager has some pictures.

8:50 pm
ITV reports that a suspicious package was found outside Big C on Rajadimiri Road (opposite Central Word near the Ratchasprong intersection where the largest New Year’s celebration were held) and lots of panic. Police say that suspicious package was nothing.. However, I am sure those who have all spent the day at the beer garden are staying still.

8:43 pm ITV reports that the authorities are increasing security at different parts of the country for.

8:36 pm
COMMENT: The very government controlled Channel 11 are telling people not to be afraid of the situation and go on life as usual, but then tell us the New Years celebration at Sanam Luang is cancelled. Channel 11 presenters are visually surprised to hear that at least one person is dead after being told by the Permanent Secretary to the Public Health Ministry – but then again the police at the press conference were telling us no one was dead.

8:33 pm
COMMENT: I find it unusual in the first hour after the explosions there was very little news. I find it unfathomable that there wasn’t live coverage. We had a 2 minute breaking news headline before returning to normal coverage. Are the soldiers still at the TV stations?

8:28 pm
According to ITV, two seriously injured people at Chula hospital. Two people have been killed and are at Chulalongkorn hospital. They both have been named.

8:26 pm
Kitty on the press conference:

  • Press Conference.
  • National Police dudes are saying some bullshit about some other bombings in other countries that have nothing to do with any of this shit. WTF?
  • Something about IRA and British Government. Blah blah on brotherly love within the country. WHATTA HELL??
  • They are saying police are now alert (are they implying that they were not?) and ready to take on everything.
  • As for the Countdown celebrations, Bangkokians are urged to be careful and keep an eye on things around them.
  • Er don’t we already know all this shit?
  • No more information on anything they don’t know shit.
  • And now they are repeating each other.
  • This is the most ridiculous press conference ever.
    “If you panic it will get worse.”
    “The people behind definitely do not mean well.”
    “If you are aware of the fact that this does not only happen in Thailand, then you must stick together as one as the Thai people.” (Whatta fuck does that mean??)

COMMENT: I agree.

8:25 pm Q and A at press conference. Police spokesman saying that only 6 explosions. Government spokesman Yongyuth saying that Surayud is following the situation closely. Says that persons probably want to create troubles for the Thai people.

COMMENT: Implication that TRT/pro-Thaksin forces were behind the violence. (UPDATE: although just at 8:26 the police spokesman says it was not the “undercurrents” (euphism for TRT/pro-Thaksin forces), but “overcurrents” (klen bon nam). He starts talking about Hat Yai. Huh?!)

8:20 pm Press conference covered by Channel 9

Third place, the police booth at Saphan Kwai, 2 injured.

Fourth place, at Sukhmubit 62 no injuries.

Fifth place, …

Sixth place, bomb in car park in Seacon Square.

Police saying that the purpose of the bombs were to show that the authorities don’t have control of the security. He is saying that all Thais have to come together to solve problems. Now, comparing the situation to IRA in England and saying that up to 5-6 bombs a day in London then the authorities had to use certain measures including CCTV. However, Londoners provided information to the authorities and now the situation is peaceful.

COMMENT: I am not sure his information on England and the IRA is correct.

8:06 pm Royal Address is now finished, but all Thai channels are now covering HM the King’s Happy New Year 2007 card with dogs of HM the King (ie Tong Daeng).

8:00 pm Channel 7, 9, and 11 have all gone blank with music and a royal message. The King is giving an address – not related to the explosions, but on the year. Saying many things have happened in the last year and that all Thais should come together.

All other Thai channels are covering the Royal Address.

7:59 pm Gen Anupong, who is Assistant Army Commander (and involved in the coup) is on Channel 5. He is refusing to speculate who was behind the violence, but says not necessary to cancel New Year celebrations. However, he asks that if anyone has any information that they please alert the authorities.

7:50 pm Shopping Centres to close early – late night closing tonight because of New Year celebrations.

According to Government Spokesman, Yongyuth says that 6 explosions. Surayud is being briefed on the issue. Up to police to look into the situation. There will be a press conference with the police soon (8pm ?). Says no specific intelligence of explosions.

7:47 pm According to Channel 11, at Klong Toei, one person is confirmed dead at Chula hospital. 7 people have been injured.

COMMENT: Would pro-Thaksin elements stage such an attack?

7:45 pm According to Channel 11, there were 7 explosions apart from the 5 mentioned below there was also Makro Chaeng Wattana and Yaowarat. Police saying that people should stay at home. Crap!

7:42 pm. Authorities are saying be careful for today’s New Years Eve celebration, but:

Deputy Governor of Bangkok, Wallop Suwandee, announced that all the events designated for the New Year’s even countdown celebration have been cancelled.

7:35pm. According to Thai TV (Channel 9), there were 6 explosions including Seacon Square, Sukhumvit 62, Klong Toei, Victory Monument, and Saphan Kwai (at traffic lights – 2 ppl injured).

At Saphan Kwai, the explosion was at the traffic lights, 2 ppl injured, all lanes at Phanon Yothin are closed (to collect forensic evidence), and the military are on the streets. Military sources on Channel 9 say that it could have been C4.

At Klong Toei, bomb in rubbish bin and in a plastic bag at the Klong Toei Fresh Market No 2. No one saw anything suspicious. Police say they don’t believe it was personal motives, but politically motivated violence.

Kitty and 2Bangkok are live blogging.

7:27 pm No specifics of who was behind it, but I will mention this:

Surayud Chulanont, Thaksin’s junta-appointed replacement, has made the south a priority, putting local authorities on alert after intelligence reports suggested the militants would step up attacks over the new year period

COMMENT: It would be a significant step up if the terrorists are behind the explosions in Bangkok, but they do have the capability to do so if they wanted.

I wonder if the “undercurrents” will be blamed.

7:20 pm Klong Toei at least three persons were seriously injured. The Nation says:

Two people were killed and 20 injured at the Victory Monument when a powerful bomb went off near a bus station.

One person was dead near the Big C supermarket, Sapan Kwai branch, where witness saw a man dropped a grenade from a pedestrian bridge just over the police box.

At the Klong Toei area near the Na Ranong intersection, a bomb hidden in a trash can near a Chinese spirit shrine exploded and injured two bypassers. The explosion caused a secondary explosion to a number of cookinggas cylinders that were situated nearby.

At the Seacon Square Shopping Mall, a loud explosion went off at the parking space, creating a panic but no injury.

Authorities ordered all shoppers to evacuate the mall, one of Bangkok largest, and all shops to close down for business.

Government’s spokesman Yongyuth Malyalarp urged the public to remain calm, adding that police officers have been instructed to stay on high alert, including areas where high concentration of people are expected to take part in the New Year’s count down.

“Police reinforcement have been sent to various areas in the city. We urged the public to remain calm, continue with the celebration but at the same time keep a look out for any irregularities,” Yongyuth said.

Another police box was hit with a bomb but not injury reported, said Police spokesman Pol General Ajiravid Subarnbhesaj said.

7:20 pm On Channel 7 talking of people going home after the explosions and not going. Confirmed of explosions in 4 places – the second place was Klong Toei.

7:15 p.m No mention of who was behind the explosions. According to Thai Police, first bomb was Victory Monument 4 injured. [[Second place I missed] Third place was police booth somewhere. Fourth place was police booth in Saphan Kwai. Police said they would more info in an hour.

7:05 p.m Channels 5,7, 9, and 11 are showing regular programs. Channel 3 have gone back to regular programs. ITV are doing a live broadcast.

7 p.m Klong Toei, Saphan Kawai are two other places. 6:20 the bomb went off at Victory Monument.

7 p.m According to Thai TV (Channel 3), 5 people were injured at Victory Monument while waiting for a bus. The explosions (bombs ?) were coordinated.

Explosions in Bangkok. No links yet, but TV reports that there were explosions in 7 different places including Seacon Square and the Victory Monument and that at least 15 people were injured (these injuries are from 2 of the 7 places). This occurred in the last hour according to Thai TV

More to come