21 August 2015
The horrific bombing that took place on Aug. 17 at the height of the busy Bangkok evening rush hour is a harsh reminder that all is still not quite well in Thailand. The blast tore through a segment of downtown’s Ratchaprasong intersection, a major tourist thoroughfare. The improvised explosive device — a 6-pound pipe bomb — was placed in the vicinity of Erawan Shrine, a popular shrine dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma but also frequented by Buddhist devotees from Thailand and across the Southeast Asian region, and was detonated remotely. The Ratchaprasong area itself is famed for its five-star hotels and upscale shopping malls. Significantly, it was also the site of massive anti-government rallies in 2010 and 2014. The bomb claimed the lives of 20 people and injured more than 100 — an isolated act of violence but one of the most serious in recent years.
Amid intense speculation as to the identity of the perpetrator and accomplices — and in the absence of any forensic evidence that has been made public — it is unclear how much actual headway has been made in investigations. Thus far, a few photos of a possible suspect, captured on closed-circuit television in the vicinity of the shrine, have been released to the public. An arrest warrant has also been issued for the person; two suspects who appeared on video nearby have been questioned and subsequently released. But regardless of who the bomber is, the attack itself calls into question the fundamental premise on which the military junta’s legitimacy has been based since the coup of May 2014: the return of security and stability.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 24/08/2015