Central Bangkok rocked by bomb blast near popular shrine

At least 27 people have been killed and many more injured in a bomb blast outside the Erawan shrine in central Chit Lom district of Thai capital Bangkok. There has not yet been any claim of responsibility for the incident.

Journalists who arrived on the scene reported chaos and carnage everywhere as the authorities scrambled to deal with the situation.

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The blast was very strong, with the police saying that it was equivalent to about 5kg of TNT.

The media has reported that more bombs have been found, and the authorities are working on diffusing them. Sniffer dogs have been brought in to sweep the area.

Reporters at the scene said that a crater left by the bomb could be seen in the courtyard of the Erawan shrine.

The Erawan Shrine is a popular attraction for tourists in Bangkok. Although a Hindu shrine, it is also visited by many Buddhists. The area is surrounded by large shopping malls and five-star hotels, making it an area high in foot traffic.

“I was having dinner at the Hyatt Erawan Hotel when a large explosion shook the building,” said office worker Eric Seldin told dpa. “When we were allowed outside 15 minutes later we saw several bodies covered under white sheets and damage to a nearby shrine.”

Rumours following the incident suggested that martial law had been declared, with institutions ordered to shut down. These rumours were quickly debunked by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the military junta.

An appeal for translators has been put out, as many victims rushed to hospital are foreign tourists.

A call has also gone out for urgent blood donations:

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has expressed his condolences to the victims of the blast, and encouraged Singaporeans in Bangkok to get in touch with the embassy.