Bombing in Thailand

Five provinces in Thailand have been hit by 11 bombings in less than a day, authorities say.

At least four Thai nationals have been killed and about 36 others were injured, including 10 foreigners, according to Anurak Amornpetchsathaporn with the Ministry of Public Health.
Injured foreigners came from Austria, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands

“The acts were carried out by a group in many locations simultaneously, following orders from one individual,” Pongsapat Pongcharoen, a deputy national police chief, told reporters.

Mr. Pongsapat did not present any evidence, but ruled out the involvement of Islamic separatists who have been battling the government in three southern provinces for more than a decade.

“I can assure you that these current attacks aren’t linked to incidents that have occurred in the deep south of Thailand,” Mr. Pongsapat said.

Thai authorities have reportedly asked for help from Malaysia in tracking down the owner of a mobile phone used to detonate one of the explosives in the recent wave of bombings that targeted some of Thailand’s best-known tourist destinations.

Bernama, Malaysia’s state news agency, reported on Sunday that the owner of the mobile phone, recovered from one of the blast sites in the popular island of Phuket, was “said to be from Malaysia”.

The phone was only partly damaged in the explosion, leaving its serial number still visible to investigators, a security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Bernama.

 “We are working with MCMC and  will also be assisting the Thai police as we understand this could be a vital lead in their investigations,” he said.

Mohamad Fuzi said police had yet to establish if the owner of the mobile phone was a Malaysian or a foreigner who purchased it from here.

The MCMC labels became mandatory in June last year to show a device has met the Communications and Multimedia (Technical Standards) Regulations 2000.

MCMC senior director Aisharuddin Nuruddin told Malay Mail yesterday the labels could help them track down suppliers and buyers of devices.

“We have a system. Our technology department can track a phone to its supplier using a label. Our enforcement department can then find the buyer,” he said, refusing to comment on the investigation.

Bernama quoted a source as saying on Saturday that although the serial number was visible, it would not be easy to trace the owner because the phone might have changed hands several times.

“The explosions started in the beach city of Hua Hin on Thursday. Two separate bombs near a local bar went off within a few minutes of one another. Friday morning, twin bombs went off in Surat Thani, and other explosions hit Trang, Phang Nga and Phuket. All are located south of Bangkok and are popular with Thai and foreign tourists. In addition to dozens of Thais, the injured include tourists from Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.”

Thai voters went to the polls on Sunday and overwhelmingly backed a military-penned constitution, which critics say solidifies the power of the junta that seized power two years ago. Campaigning against the document was not allowed, and dozens were detained for speaking out against it. Its supporters argued it would promote stability in Thailand.

In Phuket, a tourist hot spot that sees an estimated 5 million visitors a year, two bombs exploded at around 8 a.m. local time in the beach town of Patong. Patong is the main tourist center on Phuket — a bustling, vibrant town known for its a rowdy nightlife and plethora of “girly” bars, restaurants, and clubs. One bomb exploded outside a police box close to the beach at the bottom of the busy Bangla Road, injuring a motorcycle taxi driver. Another was detonated 300 m away at Loma Park, the Bangkok Post reports. No one was wounded in the second blast.

Hua Hin is where Thailand’s royal family has a residence. The attacks came as Thailand had a national holiday marking the Thai Queen’s birthday

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