- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

BANGKOK (AP) - The latest on Monday night’s bombing at a shrine next to a busy central Bangkok intersection:


11:00 a.m.

Japanese media are reporting that a 31-year-old Japanese man is among the seriously injured. Kota Ando, an employee of East Japan Railway Company, was on his way home from work when the blast happened.

Ando had moved to Bangkok in July. He had been sent by his employer to work in the office of Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. for up to one year.

Bangkok has a large Japanese expat community, as many Japanese companies have offices and factories in Thailand.

- Ken Moritsugu in Tokyo


9:45 a.m.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha promised to “hurry and find the bombers.”

“We haven’t concluded who did this, but they definitely are bad people,” he told journalists before a Tuesday morning Cabinet meeting. “No matter what their intentions are, they took lives of innocent people.”

“This is the worst incident that has ever happened in Thailand,” he said. “There have been minor bombs or just noise, but this time they aim for innocent lives. They want to destroy our economy, our tourism.”

“I have seen the footage, we have some suspects but it is not so clear. We have to find them first.”

-Anusonadisai Nattasuda in Bangkok


9:30 a.m.

A notice on the website of the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok says three Chinese tourists were among the dead from the explosion and more than 20 others had been injured. The Hong Kong government said two of its residents died, and it is not known whether China included those fatalities in its total.

“The Chinese Embassy especially wishes to remind Chinese citizens in Thailand or who are planning to come to Thailand to strengthen awareness of their surroundings, attend to their travel safety and make rational travel plans,” the embassy said.

Chinese tourists, many on cheap package tours, make up the single biggest group of overseas visitors to Thailand, with about 4.6 million arriving last year.

-Christopher Bodeen in Beijing


8:20 a.m.

Thailand’s defense minister says investigators are getting closer to determining who set off the bomb that killed at least 18 people in central Bangkok, though he did not give further details.

“It is much clearer who the bombers are, but I can’t reveal right now,” Prawit Wongsuwan said Tuesday. “We have suspects. There are not many people.”

Prawit says Thai authorities had no intelligence on the attack before the Monday night blast.

The defense minister says the bombers intended to discredit the government and harm the economy.

“We didn’t expect this to happen in a crowded area,” he says. “They aim to destroy tourism, economy, our country. But during crisis, we can build unity.”

-Anusonadisai Nattasuda in Bangkok


8:15 a.m.

Police and soldiers are guarding the site of Monday’s devastating central Bangkok explosion and combing through shattered glass and other debris.

Police tape surrounded the scene at Erawan shrine Tuesday morning, and onlookers stood it to take pictures. Barricades are set up outside five-star hotels in the neighborhood and security officials are stopping cars to inspect trunks before letting them pass.

More than 12 hours after the blast, onlookers dashed for safety as shards of glass torpedoed to the ground from windows of a nearby building. Nobody appeared to have been injured.

-Jocelyn Gecker in Bangkok

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