A total of two mainland Chinese tourists and two tourists from Hong Kong have been confirmed dead after a blast shook Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine on Monday evening.
This differs from previous reports that said five Chinese nationals, including two Hongkongers, had died in the explosion.
SCMP has identified the Hong Kong victims as Vivian Chan Wing-yan, aged 19, and Arcadia Pang Wan-chee, aged 24, who was pronounced dead in hospital at around 10:00 p.m. A nurse at in the intensive care unit said that Chan had suffered injuries to the heart, liver and abdomen along with a collapsed lung.
According to a revised death toll, 20 people died when a pipe bomb exploded near the Erawan Temple while another 117 were injured. At least 15 Chinese visitors—six of whom are reported to have been from Hong Kong—were injured, according to information released by Xinhua news agency and the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
Included in that figure is a nine-year-old Hong Kong girl who suffered injuries to her head, neck and knee and has been transferred to a private hospital.
A 24-year-old mainland Chinese woman was reported among the dead, although her identity was not given in the report. Two Malaysians, one Singaporean, an Indonesian and five Thais are also among the dead, while the rest have not been identified.
Taiwanese media said five tourists from the territory were being treated in the hospital after getting injured in the blast, as well.
China’s Foreign Ministry “demanded” that the Chinese embassy in Thailand find out what happened and “go all-out to help treat the injured people,” according to a statement published by Xinhua.
Chinese tourists account for around 20 percent of Thailand’s incoming international visitors. As the bomb rocked such a tourist-saturated area, speculation has circulated that the explosions were meant to target the country’s tourists.
The state-run Global Times write:
It is beyond the imagination of Chinese people that a blast could happen at the famous Erawan Shrine. It has almost the same impact on Chinese tourists as if it happened in China.
Whatever the exact number of Chinese casualties, we feel that Chinese tourists are facing the highest level of danger. If the blast is defined as an act of terrorism, it will strike a huge blow to its tourism industry above all else. The people who manifested this terror attack in a place like Erawan Shrine are obviously aiming at the country’s tourism sector.
Thai police say they are now searching for a male suspect who was seen in CCTV footage at around the time of the bombing.
by Dan Cunningham