AFP offer to help probe Bangkok bombing

Australian Federal Police have offered their expertise to investigate the Bangkok bombing, which authorities say was aimed at foreigners.


At least 20 people were killed and 123 wounded when a bomb was detonated outside the Erawan Shrine late on Monday, in what is said to be the worst attack on Thai soil.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said authorities were hunting a male suspect seen on CCTV footage in the area before the blast.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told parliament the “vicious attack” was clearly aimed at innocent people, but no Australians were known to have been harmed.

The AFP has offered forensic and investigative assistance to the Royal Thai Police and are awaiting a formal response from Thai authorities.

“Australians should continue to go to Thailand because the objective of the sorts of people who let off bombs in crowded cities is to scare us from being ourselves and we should never be intimidated by that,” Mr Abbott said.

However, anyone travelling to the country should exercise caution.

Melbourne man Hussain Masri witnessed the aftermath of the blast and said the scene was dominated by fire and the sounds of people screaming.

“After the blast it was so scary, especially seeing bodies and limbs and motorbikes on fire and the smell – the smell of burning,” he said.

Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes and his family narrowly escaped the blast when he took a different route as they were walking toward the shrine.

“I had the pram with the grandson … walking past the shrine would have been very difficult because it’s a bumpy road. So I said to the kids ‘follow me, I’ll take you this other way’,” Barnes told AAP from his Bangkok hotel room.

Queensland woman Grace Evans, 68, a regular visitor to Thailand, fears more bombs.

“I just feel in my heart there is more to come; I really do and that’s why I really, really want to go home,” she said.

Melissa Bennett, 37, and her 15-year-old daughter, Georgia, are returning to Australia on Tuesday on a scheduled flight.

“We’re leaving today and I’m glad,” Ms Bennett said. “I heard a siren this morning and felt that panic, so I’m glad that we’re going today,” she said.

But Sue Reeves, 57, who was in Thailand during the 2010 street protests, was more positive.

“We’re going to be a bit cautious today until there is more found out about (the bombers) before we venture outside the hotel,” Ms Reeves said.

“We’ve still got another three nights in Bangkok and I expect probably tomorrow and Thursday, we’ll get on with what we planned to do.”

Qantas says Australians who want to get out of Bangkok can book earlier flights home.

Travellers who want to cancel future flights into the city can opt to change their destination, or get a credit on their unused tickets.

Since 2006 Bangkok has witnessed repeated rounds of deadly political violence, flanked by two coups. Until Monday though, foreigners had rarely been caught up in the bloodshed.