Newspaper Happenings


From correspondents in Bangkok

January 01, 2007 04:07pm
Article from: Agence France-Presse

A SMALL homemade bomb exploded at a mosque in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai on today, injuring a Myanmar migrant worker, police said.

Witnesses told police that two men riding a motorcycle threw the explosive device at the mosque in central Chiang Mai.

The migrant suffered moderate injuries to his arm and hand, while the garage and some lights at the mosque were damaged, police said.

Police refused to say if they thought the attack was linked to the bomb blasts that killed three on New Year’s Eve in Bangkok.

Chiang Mai has the biggest Muslim community outside the insurgency-plagued provinces of southern Thailand, but the two communities have little in common other than their shared religion.

While the southern provinces along the Malaysian border suffer almost daily attacks that have killed more than 1700 people over three years, no insurgent violence has been reported in Chiang Mai.

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A series of bomb or grenade explosions in the Thai capital has killed three people and injured about 30 others, including at least eight foreigners.

A first spate of six attacks occurred at sites across Bangkok as streets were filling up late afternoon local time ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Just before midnight, at least two further blasts rocked the city centre.

Two people died on Sunday, and a third man died of his injuries on Monday in hospital. All three victims were Thai.

The Thai authorities had cancelled all public celebrations for New Year’s Eve after the first devices went off.

Police do not believe foreign groups or militants from the Muslim south are to blame, says the BBC’s Jonathan Head.

There was a big bang and people started screaming and running

Chalermsak Sanbee -Witness

Our Bangkok correspondent says many Thais suspect the attacks were the work of opponents of the current military government, which forced Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from office in September.

The latest explosions occurred near the Central World Plaza, a shopping mall close to where the biggest New Year’s event was to have been held.

The area had already been cleared. However the blasts caught several foreign tourists.

Two British men, three Hungarians, two Serbs and an American are receiving hospital treatment but none were thought to be in a serious condition, officials quoted by Reuters news agency said.

Of the earlier attacks, the largest was at about 1730 (1030 GMT) near a bus station next to one of Bangkok’s busiest intersections, Victory Monument.

Police said this caused the biggest number of casualties, injuring at least 13 people and killing one.

Reports suggest the device was planted beneath a seat at a bus stop or in a rubbish bin.

One witness who was standing nearby, 17-year-old Chalermsak Sanbee told Reuters news agency:

“There was a big bang and people started screaming and running. I saw people with blood all over their legs and faces.”

According to a police spokesman, the other blasts occurred:

* At 1720 on Sukhumvit Road in the south-east, causing no casualties
* Simultaneous blasts at 1800: at a crossroads in the north injuring two people, and in Kae Lak district injuring no-one
* At 1830 close to a Chinese temple in the Klong Toey district, killing one person and injuring six
* A bomb went off in a rubbish bin near the Seacon Square shopping area, injuring no-one

National police chief General Ajirawit Suphanaphesat said the authorities inspected other locations where suspicious packages were found.

Source: BBC News

Thank God for His mercies. Our shopping at walking street with Auntie Hwee Lee and Auntie Jeannie was cut short when we recieve news from Singapore of the blasts and decided it wise to leave the area that was extremely crowded with many foreigners and locals as it was a site for the NYE celebrations. Now Thailand’s political instability is sunk deeper please pray.

In the morning we headed out for the Elephant show and later the umbrella making factory with Auntie Hwee Lee, Auntie Jeannie, Koi and Ying. The elephant show was rather interesting, while Chiang Mai is famous for its traditional umbrella making industry.

Today, we started work with the linoleum and the floor. As Dr Henry(the owner of the place), is quite particular about the floor, we did not want any scratches from the chairs or tables. First, we had to move that heavy piano away before we could lay the lino. It was much easier to slide it out then it was to slide it back in late. So there we were measuring, cutting and finally taping the lino down with duct tape. Later it was rearranging the chairs and tables.

We also went through the songs for worship. Nice and simple ones, like Amazing Grace
The whole room looked a lot brighter with the lighter coloured linoleum wood grain pattern and it went well with the dark parquet flooring.

P’Ploy and Timothy also bought flowers for tomorrow. Sis Pat was arranging them for tomorrow. It’s exciting to see what will happen tomorrow for the 1st service. Who will come and what will happen.