Bangkok: Police in Thailand today were investigating a pair of bombings outside a luxury shopping mall in the heart of Bangkok, the first such violence reported in the capital since last year's army coup.
One person was slightly injured in the blasts yesterday night, and police said the small homemade bombs were designed to sow panic, not kill.
The explosions occurred about 8 pm between the upscale Paragon shopping mall and a mass transit elevated train line, which was undamaged but briefly shut as a precaution.
"The explosions were caused by two pipe bombs that were controlled by digital clocks. Inside the pipes were flash powder and some nails," said police Col Kamthorn Auicharoen, who heads the explosive ordnance disposal team. He said a Thai man was injured in his left hand.
He said police were looking into issuing arrest warrants for two male suspects seen on closed-circuit television footage.
The incident came at a time of slightly raised political temperatures in Thailand, as the country's ruling junta has tightened its clampdown on critics of its rule. It came a little more than a week after the impeachment of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Thailand has been under martial law since the army seized power in a May 22 coup that toppled her elected government. Police initially said the explosions were caused by a malfunctioning transformer, but National Police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thawornsiri later said they were caused by devices that were probably not meant to hurt anyone. Service at the station was suspended for about an hour.
"We think the intent of the bombers was not to harm anyone but was rather to cause trouble and to damage the overall mood," Prawut told The Associated Press yesterday night. "We have not assumed that it was politically motivated but we are pursuing a few motives in our investigation."
There has been little open opposition, and virtually no violent opposition, to the military regime that took over from an elected civilian government after a coup d'etat last May. Martial law remains in effect under the dual administration of the junta and a military-appointed interim Cabinet, and any dissent is strongly discouraged.
When members of the ousted government last week mildly protested sanctions imposed against their leader, Yingluck, they were chastised by the military authorities and called in for meetings known as "attitude adjustment."