Series of bomb blasts hit tourist towns; 4 dead, 34 injured
Bangkok (CNN) Five provinces in Thailand have been hit by eleven bombings in less than a day, authorities say.
At least four people have been killed and about 34 injured. No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts — and it’s not clear if the bombings are connected. Thai police say there’s no evidence the attacks are related to international terrorism.
“These incidents are different from the usual terrorism acts, they are more local sabotage on certain locations and provinces,” Deputy Police Spokesman Maj. Gen. Piyapan Pingmuang said at a news conference Friday.
The series of blasts come days before the one year anniversary of the Erawan Shrine bombing, which killed 20 people, and five days after the country voted on a new constitution.
The first explosion occurred at 3 p.m. local time in Trang province, killing one man and injuring six people, according to Royal Thai Police.
Two bombs went off that evening in the resort city of Hua Hin — one at 10:15 p.m. near a bar called Johnny’s 56, and another at 11 p.m. in front of the Rain Tree Spa.
A woman working at a food vending cart was killed, Police Lieutenant Colonel Samoer Yoosumran said.
Royal Thai Police said another 21 people were wounded.
They include citizens from Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria, according to Thomas Mohr with the San Paulo Hospital in Hua Hin.
Rescue workers tend to an injured victim after a bomb exploded in Hua Hin on August 12, 2016. At least eight explosions hit separate areas of Thailand on Thursday night and Friday morning, local time
Shane Brett, who was visiting the area from Tokyo, said he was close by during both explosions.
He told CNN that he heard a “bang” and saw people panicking around the area.
“[I] went to have a look and caught a glimpse of the scene but the whole area was in frenzy and people [were] advised to stay inside,” he said.
Security at the Hilton hotel where Brett is staying has dramatically increased, he said.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Samoer Yoosumran said the bombs had been planted in tree pots near the targets.
Edwin Wiek, who has lived in Thailand for almost 30 years, tweeted a photo of a planter that was blown apart in one of the blasts.
Multiple attacks Friday
On Friday morning at least eight explosions occurred in five provinces.
Bombs went off again Hua Hin as well as in Surat Thani, Trang Province, Phang-nga province and the resort island of Phuket.
Two bombings in Phuket happened at 7:45 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. on Friday, according to Royal Thai Police.
The explosions hit Patong Beach and Bang La Street — both popular tourist sites — said Major General Theerapol Thipcharoen, the chief of Phuket Provincial Police.
One person suffered minor injuries in the Phuket incident, authorities said.
Many of the Friday blasts occurred near seaside resorts — but in the morning, before crowds would have gathered to soak up the sun.
However, the bombs were not particularly big and most beach resorts were on high alert after a bomb was found in Phuket Wednesday night, Paul Quaglia, a Thailand security expert and 20-year veteran of the CIA, told CNN.
Quaglia also said the bombings are likely not related to the recent constitutional referendum, as it would be difficult to plan and execute coordinated explosions in such a short time.