One person was seriously wounded when a handgrenade exploded on Friday morning near the King Power Duty Free Shopping center in Soi Rang Nam in the inner city. The bomb followed a Sunday evening explosion on Ratchadamri Road opposite CentralWorld Mall. The bomb had claimed one dead and nine injured persons. The second bomb could further jeopardize Bangkok’s efforts to restore normalcy. So far, the State of Emergency – which was lifted for six provinces on Thursday, including Ayutthaya – will remain in place in the capital for the foreseeable future because of fears of possible Red Shirt activities, explained a spokesperson at the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) on Friday morning.
An investigation will be carried out on the bomb’s origin, which might not be linked to a political issue. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will look at intelligence and security units which have twice failed to provide information to the government about possible threats.
The second bomb undermines some of the optimism that both Minister of Tourism Chumpol Silpa-Archa and TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni showed on Thursday afternoon at the opening ceremony of the Thailand Grand Sale Fair 2010, which takes place at Queen Sirikhit Convention Center until August 1.
“The State of Emergency has no effect on tourist arrivals, as nobody really feels the consequences of it. And most countries understand the situation in Thailand and the resons why we still have this emergency law in some provinces and Bangkok,” played down the Minister. “The first bomb might bring some negative image effect. We have monitored since the beginning of the week tourist movements and the effect has been so far extremely mild and moderate on visitors’ intention. We did not see so far any country heightening again travel advisories against Thailand,” said Svetasreni.
Thailand’s tourism minister still sticks to its target of welcoming about 15 million travelers this year. During the first half of 2010, tourist arrivals already grew by over 13 percent on a year-to-year basis.