I know this part of Bangkok very well. The Erawan shrine is in the heart of the business and shopping area . . . S.L.
Bangkok bomb: Deadly blast rocks Thai capital
A bomb exploded close to the Erawan shrine in Bangkok's central Chidlom district, killing at least 16 people and injuring more than 80.
Reports say a second bomb has been found in the area and rendered safe.
The shrine is a major tourist attraction. The Thai government said the attack was aimed at foreigners. Local media reports that tourists, including Chinese, are among the casualties. Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwong said: "It was a TNT bomb . . . the people who did it targeted foreigners and to damage tourism and the economy."
Analysis: The bombs were obviously placed in an area of high foot traffic to ensure maximum # of casualties. the second bomb would have been intended for the emergency response personnel; a classic terrorist tactic dating back to the 1970s. Domestic Thai political violence is normally restricted to direct confrontations that get out of hand, i.e. riot control (police or military) firing into crowds; terror bombings are not a feature. In determining who placed the bombs or why, suspicion falls upon the Islamic extremist terror movement - aligned with IS - which has emerged from the Muslim south. It is also significant to note that foreigners may have been intended targets.
It is also noteworthy that Thailand's recent political struggles are directly related to an act of vandalism against the Erawan Shrine ( ศาลพระพรหม - San Phra Phrom ) - on March 21, 2006, a Thai man smashed the statue of Brahma with a hammer, and was himself subsequently beaten to death by angry bystanders. The tie-in of this action to the political struggles and violence that have since plagued Thai politics is explained HERE
I recently discussed the probability of IS-aligned terror cells from southern Thailand becoming operational in Bangkok and directing their actions against foreigners. Unfortunately, I was correct.