The attacks occurred south of Bangkok and several of the blasts including one on Patong beach in the tourist town of Phuket and three in the seaside resort city of Hua Hin appeared designed to strike the tourism industry. Police said firebombs also triggered blazes at markets and shops in six places, including Phuket, Trang, Surat Thani Phang Nga and a souvenir shop in the tourist town of Ao Nang, Krabi.
Attackers using firebombs and homemade explosives struck a series of popular resort cities and beach towns across Thailand in some of the worst violence to hit the country since a military coup two years ago. At least four people were killed and dozens wounded, including 11 foreigners.
Thailand’s economy has sagged since the military seized power in a 2014 coup. But tourism has remained one of the few bright spots, with visitors rising to 30 million in 2015 and more than 14 million having visited by May 2016, according to the latest official figures.
Police said four of the injured tourists were from Germany, two from Italy and one from Austria. The Netherlands said four of its citizens were also wounded.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the government was doing the best it “could to provide security to the country. … We have to band together and stay strong.”
“Why has it happened now when the country is improving … Who (did it)? Who doesn’t want to see Thailand getting better? Which group? Go find out for me.”
Police ruled out links to international terrorism.
Royal Thai Police Col. Krisana Patanacharoen said it was “too early to conclude” who was behind the attacks. But he said the bombings followed “a similar pattern used in the southern parts of the country” a reference to a low-level insurgency in the country’s Islamic south that has ground on for more than a decade and killed more than 5,000 people. Southern militants fighting for greater autonomy have carried out sophisticated, coordinated attacks before, but most have targeted three provinces in the far south.
The most devastating explosions occurred overnight in Hua Hin on a busy street filled with bars and restaurants. One Thai woman was killed and about 20 people were wounded, half of them foreigners, according to police Lt. Chaiyot Tisawong.
Gen. Sithichai Srisopacharoenrath, the superintendent of police in Hua Hin, said the bombs were hidden inside potted plants and were set off by remote control, half an hour apart.
Separate blasts were reported elsewhere in the south. One exploded on Phuket city’s popular Patong beach, injuring one person. Two more detonated in front of two police stations half an hour apart in Surat Thani in southern Thailand, killing one and wounding three. And two bombs exploded outside a market in Phang Na, damaging two vehicles but causing no casualties.
Earlier yesterday, another bomb blew up in the southern province of Trang full of beautiful beaches and tourist islands killing one person and injuring six, according to police and Thai press reports