Expats fear for their lives as bombs explode across Thailand

Published:  12 Aug at 6 PM
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A fatal double bombing in Thailand's popular Hua Hin beach resort signalled a raft of explosions and fires across the country, causing expats and tourists to fear for their lives.

Early Thursday morning and just prior to the Hua Hin explosions, a bomb was set off in Trang’s central market, killing one bystander and injuring seven. Soon afterwards, the double bombing in Hua Hin killed one woman and injured 20 people, including 10 foreigners. Early Friday morning, a massive fire in a Trang department store caused 100 million baht’s worth of damage, whilst two bombs in Surat Thani killed one and injured many.

Phuket’s Patong district was the scene of two bomb blasts, one of which occurred during an official celebration of Mothers’ Day and the Queen’s birthday being held in Loma Park. At around the same time, a Nakorn Si Thammarat Tesco Lotus store caught fire, and shortly afterwards two more bombs exploded in Hua Hin, a daily market was evacuated and a suspicious package was found close by the Hua Hin Immigration office.

Just after 10 a.m. Friday an explosion occurred in Phang Nga, and another suspicious device was found at Hua Hin’s train station. The Thai government is urging people to stay indoors and downtown Hua Hin has been shut down and cordoned off until further notice.
Army officials told the media the attacks seem to have been coordinated and may be the work of the Pattani Islamic Mujahadeen movement, although police are blaming local sabotage rather than terrorism.

The attacks came just days after the controversial referendum and less than a week before the anniversary of Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine bombing in August 2015 which killed 20 people and injured hundreds. The coordinated bombings seem to be targeted at tourist areas in an attempt to disrupt Thailand’s tourist industry, already in decline since the 2014 military coup.

Security is being tightened at the country’s provincial airports and as yet there are no reports of bombs in Bangkok. The British and Spanish governments have urged expats and tourists to exercise caution, and local online expat media sites are buzzing with posts from fearful foreigners living and working in Thailand.
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