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Bombs hit Bangkok amid regional security meeting; 4 people wounded
SIX small bomb blasts wounded at least four people in Bangkok on Friday, as the Thai capital hosted a South-east Asian security meeting with top diplomats from the United States, China and other world powers.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha ordered an investigation into the bombs, a blow to Thailand's image during the high profile event and barely two weeks after his former military junta transformed into a civilian government.
In a message to the public, Mr Prayut said: "A group of ill-intended people have recently incited violence while the government is propelling the country forward". He did not identify the group, but urged Thais to cooperate with security forces. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The first small explosions were heard during rush hour, just before 9am Bangkok time, at two sites in central Bangkok. Further blasts hit a government complex hosting several ministries in the north of the city.
Four people were wounded, the Erawan Medical Center said. Three of those hurt were women cleaning the street when what police called a "ping-pong bomb" went off. Pictures on local websites showed them looking dazed and getting treatment from medics.
The other casualty was near the 77-storey King Power Mahanakhon building, one of the tallest in Bangkok. Police Colonel Kamtorn Uicharoen told Reuters a total of six bombs exploded. One was recovered before it went off. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. None of Friday's blasts were very close to the regional security meeting venue. China's top diplomat Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are attending the forum.
At the summit, talks on the second draft of a maritime code of conduct in the South China Sea between China and South-east Asian countries are due to begin in October, a senior Thai government official told reporters on Friday. Speaking on the sidelines of the regional forum in Bangkok, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Arthayudh Srisamoot said the two sides would delve into the specifics of the long-awaited pact after agreeing to the "basic principles". The conclusion of the preliminary reading was confirmed earlier this week. BLOOMBERG, REUTERS