Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Terror in Thailand’s Suburbs
A powerful explosion ripped off an apartment in Nonthaburi's Bang Bua Thong district yesterday evening, killing at least three people at the scene, and wounding nine others, including two in serious conditions.
The blast went off from Room 202 of five-storey Samarn Metta Mansion, located near Bang Bua Thong market and not far Thipphawan housing estate, at around 6 pm, sending a tremor and causing a small fire and the walls to break down, and threatening a collapse due to heavy structual damage.
Police have initially estimated the blast stemmed from TNT explosives, possibly stored in the room, at a size no less than 50 kg, but did not yet declare the incident as an act of terrorism.
The explosion took place hours just the Cabinet yesterday extended the state of emergency, in many provinces including Nonthaburi.
Matichon reported an overheard statement reported to police chief Wichean Potephosree that the room was a weapons storage and SpringNews cable television reported that there was a community radio station located within the apartment building.
Pol Maj General Sriwara Rangsiphramanakul reportedly told Wichean through phone conversations that a large number of explosives was possibly stored in the room and the explosion could have occurred during bomb assembly works. The acting Regional Police Bureau 1 later said later in a press interview that if not TNT, the explosives could be based on fertiliser-based material, which was equivalent to TNT no less than 50 kg.
The explosion blasted away many walls on the second floor where Room 202 was located, sending down the debris to pile on top of two vehicles damaging them. The tremor caused by the blast caused damage to nearby installation including a restaurant Thep Fishery Pier.
A senior security source told The Nation that a large number of electrical circuits and air-conditioner coolant tanks were found at the scene.
Two bodies were found in the room and a leg was seen hanging by the building in television reports. One body was later found in a nearby townhouse not far from the restaurant. Among all three dead Victims is identified as Aphirak Sajjabamjongjit, by SpringNews, while playing a video game on the second floor.
Apartment owner Samarn Mettabunprasert said two men and one woman rented the room about a month ago, under the name of Samai Wongsuwan. They were seen travelling used a golden Toyota pickup truck with a Narathiwat license plate. Their whereabouts were not known and police did not yet conclude if they were the dead victims.
Among those sustaining injuries is a seven-year-old boy, who underwent an emergency brain surgery last night following his caved-in skull resulting from the blast. A three-year-old girl has cut wounds to her back after being hit by shattered glasses, according to her father Anon Namphan.
The Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand (EMIT) reported nine cases of injuries including four in serious conditions at press time. Two of them were later announced safe and discharged from the hospitals. The Nation, Bangkok