Thu, Aug 20, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Thai shrine reopens as manhunt continues


Mourners pray for people killed in Monday’s bombing at the reopened Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand, yesterday.

Photo: Bloomberg

The smell of incense filled the air around Bangkok’s Erawan Shrine as it reopened less than 48 hours after a bomb attack killed at least 20 people, many of them foreigners, in the heart of the Thai capital’s shopping district yesterday.

A trickle of devotees, tourists and family members of people killed accompanied by Buddhist monks carried flowers and joss sticks into the Hindu shrine. Fresh cement filled the crater along the now-tangled fence of the shrine, where the bomb was believed to have been planted during evening rush hour on Monday.

“For me, coming here is not letting them win,” Kate Brady, a tourist from Devon, England, said after lighting incense in front of the damaged golden face of a statue of Brahma.

“Whoever they are,” her husband, Mike, added.

Thai authorities are hunting for suspects captured on security camera footage in connection with the powerful blast, though the motivation for the attack remains unclear.

The Thai government said the central location of the bombing near shopping malls, hotels and the popular shrine indicated the perpetrators wanted to cause maximum carnage.

“We will look at all information,” Thai police chief Somyot Poompanmoung said. “We also have not ruled out any motives for this bomb attack. We will investigate all details. We are cooperating with all countries.”

The attack — along with a second blast on Tuesday that caused no injuries, but sent water into the air at a busy Bangkok pier — has raised the specter of renewed violence in a nation that has seen years of political unrest, culminating in a coup last year that deposed the government of former Thai prime minister Yinluck Shinawatra.

Thai police shared images taken from security footage of one suspect in the blast. The person — who appears to be a man with shaggy hair and wearing a yellow T-shirt — was captured on video entering the shrine with a backpack, taking it off and slowly walking away. Police released a sketch and issued an arrest warrant for the unnamed man, saying he is a foreigner.

They also said two other men seen in footage were suspects, according to Reuters.

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