4 killed, 34 injured as blasts rock Thai resort cities

Bangkok: A string of coordinated bomb blasts within hours rocked Thailand’s famous tourist towns, including Phuket, killing four people and injuring 34 others, days after the country voted to accept a military-backed Constitution.

At least 11 bombs, many of them twin blasts, hit five southern provinces in the past 24 hours. Police said they had detained some suspects but ruled out international terrorism.

Two bombs went off in the resort of Hua Hin this morning near the clock tower, a city landmark, killing one and injuring three.

Around 200 meters away, another two bombs exploded late yesterday as foreign tourists were leaving local bars to go back to their hotels, Police Lieutenant Colonel Samoer Yoosumran said.

At least 11 people — mostly citizens from Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria — were injured and a woman who had a food vending cart in front of a bar was killed, Yoosumran said. No Indian has been reported injured.

Hua Hin is a popular coastal resort, about 145 kilometers southwest of the Thai capital, Bangkok. It’s also home to the Klai Kangwon Palace, the seaside residence of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The palace is located less than about 2 kilometers from the bombing site.

Two more persons were killed in three blasts in Surat
Thani and Trang area.

There were reports of bomb explosions in popular resort town of Phuket in Patong beach injuring a few but no fatalities were reported. A bomb also exploded near the governor’s residence in Muang district.

The blasts came as the country celebrated the birthday of Queen Sirikit, a holiday.

This is is first time there have been bomb blasts in popular tourist spots like Hua Hin and Phuket.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts and it is not clear if they are connected.

Thai police said that the bombings were acts of local sabotage and not “terrorist” in nature.

“These incidents are different from the usual terrorism acts, they are more local sabotage on certain locations and provinces,” Deputy Police Spokesman Major General Piyapan Pingmuang said at a news conference.

The series of blasts come days before the one year anniversary of Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine bombing, which killed 20 people.

“It is still unclear which group is behind the bombings,” a police spokesman said and dismissed speculation that Muslim rebels waging a rebellion in Thailand’s far south were behind the recent attacks.

Tourism accounts for about 10 per cent of GDP of Thailand. Following the blasts, foreign embassies have advised tourists to be vigilant.

Thai voters last Sunday approved a new junta-backed Constitution that would pave the way for an election next year and give the military, which seized power in a coup two years ago, the final say on future elected governments.

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