International desk – At least four dead and dozens injured as Thailand was hit by multiple explosions across tourist destinations in Thailand, officials said on Friday.
The bombs were hidden in plant pots and flower beds detonated by mobile phones, according to media reports substantiated by officials.
Western tourists fled in terror as the first two blasts hit the seaside resort of Hua Hin overnight, killing one Thai woman and one other and wounding 21 people, according to a report by daily mail.
At least one British national was reportedly among those injured in the twin bomb attack, which targeted a busy street filled with bars and restaurants. The town was also hit by small explosions on Friday morning.
Hours later two small bombs were detonated in the beach town Patong, Phuket, another area popular with foreign tourists. One man was said to have been ‘lightly wounded’ in the attack. His nationality is not yet known.
Thai police and media have also reported similar strikes in the southern regions which killed one person in Surat Thani and another in Trang, with both used as stop-off points for many visitors travelling on to the country’s islands.
There were also reports of blasts or fires in Phang Nga and Krabie.
Thai officials have said they believe the attacks were carried out locally and are not terror related. There is some suggestion they were launched by the opponents of the ruling junta, which recently bolstered its military power.
Junta chief and Thai leader Prayat Chan-O-Cha branded the attacks as an “attempt to create chaos and confusion.”
Nine foreigners among the 21 people injured in the Hua Hin blasts were foreign nationals, according to local officials. Dutch, Austrian, German and Italian nationals are believed to have been affected.
A statement from the German foreign ministry confirmed that at least three German nationals had been injured in the blast in Hua Hin and that the embassy was offering them assistance.
The British embassy in Thailand has updated travel advice urging tourists to exercise ‘extreme caution’ and avoid public places.
Australians have been warned to exercise a ‘heightened caution’ in the country and follow the advice of local authorities.
Tourist Shane Brett described the scenes of panic after the first devices were detonated in Hua Hin.
He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: “I was at a bar in the main bar district in Hua Hin right outside the Hilton Hotel and at first I heard kind of a bang and everyone kind of panicked.”
Brett said revellers fled to safety, adding there were “a good few people injured and the whole area just panicking … the whole area was just shut down with police cars, ambulances”.
While Henrik Buuz, 62, of Denmark, said that while he might not have taken security seriously in the past, he no longer felt safe in the sunny beach town where streets were remarkably quiet for the beginning of a three-day holiday.
In Surat Thani, provincial governor Wongsiri Promchana said the bomb, hidden in a flower bed, exploded in front of the marine police offices, killing a municipal worker and injuring another man.
‘I think it’s related to the blasts in Hua Hin,’ Wongsiri said.
According to local media one person died in an attack on the Centre Point shopping mall in Trang while six more were injured.
General Sithichai Srisopacharoenrath said the devices were hidden inside plants on a street filled with restaurants, bars and food sellers that is popular with tourists and residents.
He said a Samsung mobile phone had been recovered that they believed was used to detonate at least one the bombs.
On Friday, debris and ball bearings could be seen strewn across the road as police investigated the scene. The blast damaged a pair of phone booths and shattered the window of a nearby Starbucks.
Speaking at a press conference, Army General Danai Kritmethavee said authorities believed the attacks were coordinated and that they are investigating ‘all possible leads’, according to daily mail.