Four dead as Thailand hit by wave of bombings

Carla Harmon
August 14, 2016

Tourism is one of the only growth sectors in Thailand, and accounts for 10 percent of an economy that has struggled under the stewardship of a military government that seized power two years ago.

In Hua Hin, tourist Shane Brett told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. from his hotel room that there was panic after the first explosion there Thursday.

The Telegraph asked if Jon had any idea who was behind the attacks.

The explosions all occurred south of Bangkok and several of the blasts - including one on Patong beach in the tourist resort of Phuket - appeared created to hit the tourism industry.

Police said firebombs also triggered blazes at markets and shops in six other places, including Trang and Surat Thani.

His sister, Yingluk, won a 2011 election before being ousted in another coup in 2014 by the military junta, which remains in power.

An August 2015 bombing at a Bangkok shrine that killed 20 people - mostly tourists - was followed by a sudden drop in visitors but did not stop the kingdom from welcoming a record high of almost 30 million travelers that year.

Foreign governments, including the United States, issued warnings urging travelers to avoid affected areas.

Speaking late Friday, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the attacks "struck at the hearts of all Thai people".

He said it was unclear who carried them out but the government would do its best to find out. Nearly all the violence has been in the three southernmost provinces.

A bomb attack at a Hindu shrine nestled among luxury shopping malls and hotels in central Bangkok killed 20 and injured more than 120 in August 2015. Thai authorities said that bombing was revenge by a people-smuggling gang whose activities were disrupted by a crackdown, but analysts said it might have been the work of Uighur separatists angry that Thailand forcibly repatriated more than 100 Uighurs to China.

Earlier on Thursday, another bomb blew up in the southern province of Trang, killing one person and injuring six, according to Thai news reports.

Dozens of people were wounded in the blasts on Thursday and Friday, including 11 foreigners.

Police in the Thai resort of Hua Hin have arrested two men after bomb attacks there and across the country left four people dead, BBC News reports. "No political aim justifies violence and attacks on innocent people", German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement.

In the normally peaceful resort town of Hua Hin, blood-spattered tourists were treated by rescue workers as forensic teams picked through the rubble, with police scrambling to reassure visitors the situation was under control.

Mike Hodge, a British tourist in Phuket, said he and his friends would "probably" stay indoors for the rest of their stay, after one bomb went off just a few miles away from their hotel.

Many shops in the city center closed afterward and normally bustling streets were empty.

Authorities have also been quick to downplay possible links to a simmering Islamic insurgency in Thailand's southern border region. One exploded on Phuket city's popular Patong beach, injuring one person. He said a mobile phone, believed to have been used to detonate one bomb, had been recovered.

Two blasts outside a market in Phang Nga damaged two vehicles but no-one was hurt.

Thai Army officers patrol the streets in Hua Hin, Thailand.

"I am afraid business will become slow - even this morning, you can see there are fewer people here for breakfast".

Information for this article was contributed by Jerry Harmer, Tassanee Vejpongsa, Grant Peck, Natnicha Chuwiruch, Vicky Ge Huang and Alina Hartounian of The Associated Press.

Thaksin's ouster set off sometimes bloody battles for power between his supporters and opponents, who include the military.

The blasts erupted on the eve of Queen Sirikit's 84th birthday, also celebrated as Mother's Day in Thailand. Thaksin Shinawatra. The Red Shirt movement as a whole has been under extremely tight military monitoring both before and since the military coup of 2014.

The attacks came less than a week after the junta saw its draft of a new constitution approved in a referendum, giving the generals a fresh claim to popular legitimacy.

Other reports by iNewsToday