A suspect clad in a yellow T-shirt was being hunted Tuesday in connection with a deadly bombing at a Bangkok shrine popular with tourists that killed 22 people.
Hours after Monday’s attack, a second explosive device was also thrown from a bridge in the Thai capital. It was not immediately clear if the two blasts were related.
Surveillance video of the suspect shows him carrying a backpack in one location near the scene of the shrine bombing and then later without the bag, Thailand’s police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang told reporters.
“That man was carrying a backpack and walked past the scene at the time of the incident. But we need to look at the before and after [security] footage to see if there is a link,” Somyot said.
At least 22 people, including nine foreigners, were killed in the attack at a busy intersection during Monday night’s rush hour. Witnesses described a scene of horror after the blast caused scattered body parts, blasted windows and burned motorcycles to the metal.
“It was like a meat market,” said Marko Cunningham, a paramedic working with a Bangkok ambulance service, who said the blast had left a 6-foot-wide crater.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha promised in a televised address to bring those responsible for the “heinous” crime to justice and called it “the worst incident that has ever happened in Thailand.”
“It is apparent that there are active individuals or groups that harbor the intention to damage Thailand,” he said, adding that the perpetrators appeared to be intent on “damaging the economy and tourism.”
Meanwhile, a small explosive was tossed from a bridge in central Bangkok Tuesday, but it fell into a canal and caused no injuries, police said, according to Reuters.
The unidentified man threw the explosive near a busy pier on the city’s Chao Phraya river. “If it did not fall in the water then it certainly would have caused injuries,” he said.
State Department said Monday that authorities in Thailand were investigating and had not requested assistance from U.S. officials so far.
Less than 24 hours after the rush-hour blast, some tour operators to Thailand were already reporting cancellations and Hong Kong issued a “red alert” travel advisory warning against non-essential travel.
“This will have an impact on tourism,” Finance Minister Sommai Phasee told reporters. “But it’s difficult to estimate the impact on GDP because we are in the off-season now. We will have to wait until October for a clearer impact. We are praying that tourists will forget about this incident by then.”