Six or more bomb blasts rocked Bangkok last night, killing at least two people and injuring more than 20, police and health officials said. The culprits and motive were unknown.
The bombings in several parts of city capped a year of unrest in Thailand, including a military coup three months ago and a mounting Muslim insurgency in the south.
National police chief General Ajirawit Suphanaphesat confirmed on the iTV television network that six blasts occurred, and that authorities were inspecting several more locations where there were suspicious packages.
Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayothin ordered the cancellation of the two major countdown celebrations as well as other smaller public ones as police and troops were sent to safeguard entreatment venues and key sites in the capital.
"Due to several bomb explosions in Bangkok and for the sake of peace and security, I would ask all of you to return to your homes now," he told some 5,000 revelers at the Central World Plaza shopping mall complex.
Police Lieutenant General Chongrak Juranond said one person died at Chulalongkorn hospital. Another police officer said a second person succumbed to injuries at another hospital.
A senior health ministry official said that more than 20 people had been hospitalized at four Bangkok hospitals.
Ajirawit said six people were injured by a bomb in the slum area of Klong Toey, and four by a bomb near a department store at the Victory Monument, which is on a major traffic circle. He said other blasts occurred near a police post in the Saphan Kwai district, where two were injured, and in Kae Lai district in Nonthaburi, a northern suburb.
The police chief said that "the situation remains under control," but cautioned those out celebrating to exercise caution.