The Latest on Bangkok: Shrine bomb crater paved with cement
The Associated Press
Aug. 19, 2015
BANGKOK (AP) — The latest on the bombings in the Thai capital:
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 bicycle racks to keep people away, as many have thronged to the shrine to offer prayers and condolences.
— Kiko Rosario, Bangkok
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
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.
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.
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, Bangkok
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.
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, Bangkok
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, Bangkok