2015 Bangkok bombing

Coordinates: 13°44′40″N 100°32′26″E / 13.74444°N 100.54056°E / 13.74444; 100.54056

On 17 August 2015, a bombing took place inside the Erawan Shrine at the Ratchaprasong intersection in Pathum Wan District, Bangkok, Thailand,[2][3] killing 20 people and injuring 125.[1] Thai police were reported to have arrested two suspects, the second of whom confessed to having been the bomber. He later retracted his confession.

2015 Bangkok bombing
Part of Terrorism in Thailand
2015 Bangkok bombing VOA.jpg
Erawan Shrine after the explosion
2015 Bangkok bombing is located in Bangkok
2015 Bangkok bombing
2015 Bangkok bombing (Bangkok)
LocationRatchaprasong intersection, Bangkok, Thailand
Date17 August 2015 (2015-08-17)
18:55 ICT (UTC+07:00)
Attack type
Mass murder, bombing
VictimsThai nationals, foreign tourists

Prior incidentsEdit

Prior to this bombing incident, there were two other bombings in Thailand in the same year. In February 2015, two bombs exploded on the Siam BTS Station outside the nearby Siam Paragon shopping mall, injuring three people. The attack was believed to have been politically motivated.[4] In April 2015, a car bomb exploded in Ko Samui, injuring seven.[5]


On 17 August 2015, at 18:55 ICT (11:55 UTC), a bomb exploded inside the grounds of the Erawan Shrine, near the busy Ratchaprasong Intersection in Bangkok's city centre.[6][7][8] The Royal Thai Police said that 3 kilograms (6.6 lb) of TNT had been stuffed in a pipe bomb and left under a bench near the outer rim of the grounds surrounding the shrine, and that an electronic circuit suspected to have been used in the attack was found 30 metres (98 ft) from the scene.[9] Surveillance footage showed a suspect leaving a backpack at the scene shortly before the explosion.[10]

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.[11] The attacks are thought to have targeted Thailand's tourism and economy,[2] but there has been a range of inconsistencies in the statements of Thai authorities about those arrested and the reasons for the attack. The Thai government has at times suggested the bombers acted to avenge a crackdown on their human trafficking network, to take revenge for Thailand's deportation of a group of Uighurs back to China in July 2015, to strike a blow for the insurgents fighting the Thai government in the deep south, or for reasons related to Thailand's domestic politics. The government has implicated a range of other suspects in the bombing, mostly Thai opponents of the military regime.[12]

The site of the bombing had been cleaned, and the crater paved over with cement, by 19 August.[13]

Second incidentEdit

Students of Assumption College being evacuated shortly after the explosion at the next-by Sathon pier

In a separate attack in Bangkok, an explosive device was thrown from a bridge near a boat pier shortly after 13:30 ICT on 18 August 2015, but it caused no injuries. The device, possibly a grenade, appeared to have been thrown to the busy Sathon pier under the Taksin Bridge in Bangkok but landed in water of Chao Phraya river by the Saphan Taksin BTS station where it exploded. The district's deputy police chief said, "If it did not fall in the water then it certainly would have caused injuries." Some damage was done to the bridge.[2]


Deaths by nationality[14]
Nation Deaths
  Thailand 6
  Malaysia 5
  China 5
  Hong Kong[a] 2
  Indonesia 1
  Singapore 1
Total 20
Some victims had multiple citizenships.
Injuries by nationality[16]
Nationality Total
  Austria 2
  China 33
  Hong Kong 3
  Indonesia 1
  Japan 1
  Malaysia 2
  Maldives 2
  Mali 1
  Oman 2
  Philippines 2
  Qatar 1
  Singapore 3
  Taiwan 3
  Thailand 60
Unknown nationality 25
Total 163

Most of the victims of the explosion were tourists visiting the shrine.[15] The Royal Thai Police reported that 20 people died and 125 had been injured.[1]

The dead included six Thais,[14] five Malaysians,[17] five mainland Chinese,[18] two from Hong Kong (including one British national resident in Hong Kong),[15] one Indonesian, and one Singaporean.[14] In addition, citizens of Austria, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mali, the Maldives, Oman, the Philippines, Qatar, Singapore and Taiwan were among those injured.[15]

All of the 14 non-Thai fatalities, from Malaysia,[19] China, Hong Kong,[20] Indonesia[21] and Singapore[22] were ethnic Chinese.


Police offered a one million baht reward for information leading to the arrest of the bomber.[23][24][25] On 20 August this was increased to two million baht by an anonymous Thai businessman,[26] and later to three million baht (US$84,000). A further two million baht (US$56,000) was offered by a prominent member of the Red Shirt movement and another two million by the son of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, as well as five million baht (US$140,000) for "those officials who investigate and make arrests".[27][28] On 31 August, national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung awarded the three million baht to members of the police whose work led to the arrest of a suspect in the bombings.[29][30] This suspect later confessed to being the individual seen on CCTV in the first bombing. One million baht came from police chief Somyot and the rest came from his friends.[30] At the end of September 2015, police awarded themselves a second reward, essentially for making substantial progress in the investigation.[12]


Investigators said they were "certain" that a man shown leaving a backpack at the scene of the explosion was responsible for the blast. The security camera footage, which has been broadcast internationally, shows the man in shorts and a yellow T-shirt taking off a dark-coloured backpack while sitting on a bench and then standing up, putting the backpack underneath the bench and walking away while looking at his phone.[31] The suspect likely had arrived by tuk-tuk from an alley near Hua Lamphong.[32]

Some newspapers alleged that the man captured on security footage at the Erawan Shrine bomb attack was named by authorities as Mohamad Museyin, and that investigators are focusing their efforts on budget hotels in the Sathorn Road area of Bangkok where they believe the suspect stayed.[33] However, this information was quickly dismissed by Thai authorities.[34]

Thailand's chief of police said the attack was carried out by a network and released a sketch of the "unidentified foreign man" who was identified in CCTV footage as being the bomber. A warrant was issued for his arrest the same day the reward was announced.[25] Police are also saying that two other people, wearing red and white T-shirts, seen in the same footage were being treated as suspects.[31][35] These two suspected accomplices were later identified and cleared by police.[35][36] Police said that the bombing was not international terrorism, but said that it involved several teams and at least 10 people.[26] Military junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha warned against speculating about the reason for the bombing too soon as, "It could affect international affairs".[37]

A taxi driver later confirmed that he picked up the suspect, and described him as "not in a hurry. He seemed to be calm, like a regular customer, and not Thai. He also spoke in an unclear language on the way."[38]

Video from shortly after the first bombing showed someone in a blue shirt kicking an item into the canal where the second explosion occurred the next day.[39] On 27 August, an arrest warrant was issued for this unnamed individual.[40]

On 29 August 2015, police arrested a 28-year-old man in connection to the bombing. He is not believed to have been the bomber but is suspected of involvement.[41] His nationality was unknown but he had a fake Turkish passport, as well as at least 11 other Turkish passports and over 200 passports in all in his apartment, along with bomb-making components.[37][42][43] The Turkish embassy in Bangkok denied that the bomb suspect arrested by Thai police and troops on Saturday is a citizen of Turkey.[44] A second foreigner was detained near the Cambodian border on 1 September, and authorities planned to conduct DNA tests using DNA found on taxis the bomber used.[37]

On 30 August, authorities raided an apartment building in Bangkok, initially telling reporters nothing suspicious had been found. However, on 31 August the authorities announced in a special broadcast that more bomb-making materials had been found and issued arrest warrants for 26-year-old Wanna Suansan, who is living in Turkey, and a foreign male named Jusuf.[45][46][47] A photo of a suicide vest was displayed but authorities denied it was connected to the bombing.

The bombing is suspected[by whom?] to have been carried out by the Pan-Turkic Turkish ultra-nationalist organization Grey Wolves in retaliation for Thailand's deportation of Uyghur terrorist suspects back to China instead of allowing them to travel to Turkey for asylum. A Chinese ethnic Uighur man, Adem Karadag, was arrested by the Thai police in connection with the bombing after fake Turkish passports[48] and bomb-making materials were found in his apartment.[49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58][59]

The arrested suspect confessed to Thai authorities that he came from Turkey and travelled to Vietnam on a fake passport, and then travelled through Laos and Cambodia, paying bribes to Thai border police in Sa Kaeo to cross the border from Cambodia. He is believed to have provided Uyghurs with fake passports to go to Turkey.[60]

Adem Karadag, 31, was identified as the bomber on 26 September while being held in police custody, based on his own confession as well as other evidence.[61]

In February 2016, Adem Karadag, also known as Bilal Mohammed, retracted his earlier confession that his lawyer said was a result of torture.[62] His co-defendant, Mieraili Yusufu, 26, also denied the charges. The Military Court has set 20–22 April 2016 for the inspection of evidence.[62] In 2018, it was estimated that it could take several more years for the trial of the suspects to be wrapped up.[63]

The trials continued in January 2020.[64]


Thai military junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha called it the "worst-ever attack" on his country, saying, "there have been minor bombs or just noise, but this time they aim for innocent lives. They want to destroy our economy, our tourism."[2]

The foreign ministry announced that mostly Western countries issued travel warnings. Twelve countries—Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United States—issued "Level 2" advisories urging citizens to take extra care during trips to the country. Nine others—Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, and the United Kingdom—recommended a higher degree of caution, or "Level 3" warnings. Hong Kong advised its people to avoid non-essential travel to Thailand, or "Level 4" warning. The Netherlands instructed its people to be alert, or a "Level 1 warning."[65][66]

Effect on economyEdit

Malaysia Airlines reported that there were no flight cancellations to Bangkok.[67] After Hong Kong raised its travel advisory for Bangkok to "red alert", which prevented the purchase of compulsory travel insurance, the number of tourists from major Asian markets dropped by 10%.[68] Hong Kong downgraded its travel advisory to amber on 22 September.[69]


  1. ^ Includes one British national resident in Hong Kong[15]


  1. ^ a b c d "Bomb toll revised: 20 dead, 125 injured". Security. Bangkok Post. 18 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Bangkok bomb: CCTV video shows man leave backpack". Asia. BBC News. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Bomb Blast in Central Bangkok Kills at Least 15". Sky News. 17 August 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Thailand steps up security in Bangkok after bomb blasts at luxury mall". World News. euronews. 2 February 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Koh Samui car bomb: Seven hurt in explosion in shopping mall car park in Thailand". ABC News. 11 April 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Bangkok bomb: Explosion close to Erawan shrine kills at least 27 people including four foreigners – latest updates". The Daily Telegraph. 17 August 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  7. ^ Fuller, Thomas (17 August 2015). "Explosion in Bangkok Kills at Least 12". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  8. ^ (in Vietnamese) Bom nổ ở Bangkok, ít nhất 22 người chết, hơn 120 bị thương[permanent dead link]. 17 August 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-31.
  9. ^ "Bangkok bomb: Deadly blast rocks Thailand capital". BBC News. 17 August 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  10. ^ Holmes, Oliver (18 August 2015). "Bangkok bomber is man seen dropping backpack, Thai police say". World. The Guardian. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Police seek active bomb near Bangkok explosion". CNN. 17 August 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  12. ^ a b Kurlantzick, Joshua (2 October 2015). "Thailand's Bombing Case Twists and Turns". Council on Foreign Relations. Archived from the original on 4 October 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  13. ^ "The Latest on Bangkok: Shrine bomb crater paved with cement". Bangkok: Yahoo News. Associated Press. 19 August 2015.
  14. ^ a b c "Thai Police Seek 'Foreign Man' in Bombing of Bangkok Shrine". The New York Times. 19 August 2015.
  15. ^ a b c d "Bangkok bomb: Victims and survivors". Asia. BBC News. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  16. ^ ศปก.รพ.ตร. "ตรวจสอบรายชื่อล่าสุด ผู้เสียชีวิต-บาดเจ็บ เหตุระเบิดราชประสงค์". Archived from the original on 24 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Bangkok blast: Fifth Malaysian victim confirmed". The Star Malaysia. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  18. ^ "7 Chinese confirmed dead in Bangkok blast". China Daily. Xinhua News Agency. 19 August 2015.
  19. ^ "Loved ones bid farewell to two Bangkok blast victims". The Star. Malaysia.
  20. ^ "Bodies of two women killed in Bangkok bombing flown home to Hong Kong". South China Morning Post. 21 August 2015.
  21. ^ metrotvnews developer. "An Indonesian Killed in Bangkok Blast". metrotvnews.com. Archived from the original on 5 October 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  22. ^ "Bangkok blast: Singaporean who died lost her father less than a month ago". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 25 August 2015.
  23. ^ "Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri on Twitter". 19 August 2015.[non-primary source needed]
  24. ^ "Thai police offer 1 million baht reward - Twitter". 19 August 2015.[non-primary source needed]
  25. ^ a b "Thai police issue arrest warrant for 'foreign' bomb suspect". BT. 19 August 2015.
  26. ^ a b "Global terror link "unlikely" in Bangkok bombing". CBS News. Bangkok. 20 August 2015.
  27. ^ "Ex-Thai PM Thaksin's son ups reward for bomb suspects". Al Jazeera. 22 August 2015.
  28. ^ "Thaksin's son doubles reward for Bangkok bomb suspect". Channel NewsAsia. 22 August 2015.
  29. ^ "Thai police reward themselves $84K over bomb arrest". Al Jazeera. 31 August 2015.
  30. ^ a b "Somyot gives B3m reward to police team". Somyot gives B3m reward to police team. 31 August 2015.
  31. ^ a b "Bangkok bomb: Erawan shrine attacker was 'part of network', police say". Asia. BBC News. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  32. ^ "Tuk-Tuk Driver who took Bomber to Shrine comes forward". Khaosod. 20 August 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  33. ^ "Bangkok Blast Mohamad Museyin Identified Prime Suspect Bombings By Thai Police". International Business Times. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  34. ^ "Govt warns netizens on blast posts". Bangkok Post.
  35. ^ a b "Bangkok bomb: Two suspects cleared by police after questioning". BBC News. 20 August 2015.
  36. ^ Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Aukkarapon Niyomyat (20 August 2015). "Two Thai bomb 'suspects' deny link, international terrorism 'unlikely'". Reuters. Bangkok.
  37. ^ a b c "Bangkok Shrine Bombing: Thailand Nabs Foreigner Who Is Suspect". NBC News. Bangkok. Associated Press. 1 September 2015.
  38. ^ "Bangkok authorities clear pair seen before shrine bombing, say key suspect spoke foreign language". The Japan Times. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  39. ^ Lindsay Murdoch (23 August 2015). "Bangkok blasts linked by evidence, manhunt has three targets". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  40. ^ "Thailand issues arrest warrant for suspect in blast that followed shrine bombing". CTV News. Associated Press. 27 August 2015.
  41. ^ The Straits Times
  42. ^ "Bangkok bomb: Thai police arrest man over Erawan blast". BBC News. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  43. ^ "Bangkok bomb suspect is 'Turkish national': Thai military". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  44. ^ "Bangkok blast: Turkish embassy denies Erawan bombing suspect is citizen". Asiaone. 30 August 2015.
  45. ^ Steve Herman (31 August 2015). "2 New Suspects Sought in Bangkok Bombing". Bangkok: Voice of America.
  46. ^ "The Latest: Thai sought in Bangkok bomb believed in Turkey". Bangkok. Associated Press. 31 August 2015.
  47. ^ Anusondisai, Nattasuda; Peck, Grant (31 August 2015). "Thai police seek 2 new suspects in Bangkok bombing probe". Associated Press. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  48. ^ "Thai police arrest man with fake Turkish passport in Bangkok bomb case". Today's Zaman. 30 August 2015. Archived from the original on 3 September 2015.
  49. ^ Sherwell, Philip (29 August 2015). "Bangkok bombing: Was it the Grey Wolves of Turkey?". The Daily Telegraph.
  50. ^ Murdoch, Lindsay (30 August 2015). "Bangkok bombing: Who are the Turkish terrorist group the Grey Wolves?". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  51. ^ Murdoch, Lindsay (30 August 2015). "Grey Wolves Make Prime Suspects in Bangkok Bombing Arrest". Phuket Wan.
  52. ^ Rossington, Ben (27 August 2015). "Bangkok bombings: Police probe 'Grey Wolves' link to attack which killed 20". The Mirror.
  53. ^ Phuketwan (25 August 2015). "Chinese 'Flock to Phuket'; Grey Wolves Top Suspects; Fresh South Peace Talks; Wanted Pair Held". Phuket Wan.
  54. ^ Cunningham, Susan (24 August 2015). "Thailand's Shrine Bombing - The Case For Turkey's Grey Wolves". Forbes.
  55. ^ "Break in Bangkok blast case? Police arrest possible suspect". Asia Times Online. 29 August 2015. Archived from the original on 7 March 2020.
  56. ^ Singh, Bajinder Pal (29 August 2015). "Why we need to worry about the Grey Wolves of Turkey". daily O.
  57. ^ Lefevre, Amy Sawitta; Niyomyat, Aukkarapon (27 August 2015). "Thai police look into Turkish connection in Bangkok blast". Reuters.
  58. ^ MURDOCH, LINDSAY (30 August 2015). "Bangkok bombing: Who are the Turkish terrorist group the Grey Wolves?". Stuff (company).
  59. ^ "Police arrest Erawan blast suspect". Bangkok Post. 29 August 2015.
  60. ^ "Sa Kaeo immigration chief transferred in bomb case". 1 September 2015.
  61. ^ Wilawan Watcharasakwet (26 September 2015). "Thai Police Say Man Being Held in Custody Is Man From Security Footage". The Wall Street Journal.
  62. ^ a b Reuters (15 February 2016). "Bangkok bombing suspect was tortured into confessing, says lawyer". The Guardian.
  63. ^ "No Justice in sight two years after Erawan shrine bombing". The Straits Times.
  64. ^ "Trial of Uyghurs Resumes in 2015 Thailand Shrine Bombing Case". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  65. ^ "23 nations issue Thailand travel advisories". Bangkok Post. 18 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  66. ^ "Hong Kong says avoid Bangkok, others urge caution after bombing". The Nation. Bangkok. Agence France-Presse. 18 August 2015.
  67. ^ "MAS: No flight cancellation to Bangkok". The Star. KUALA LUMPUR. 20 August 2015.
  68. ^ Kittiphum Sringammuang (26 August 2015). "Tourists avoid Thailand after Bangkok bombing". Channel NewsAsia.
  69. ^ Danny Mok (22 September 2015). "Hong Kong downgrades travel warning for Thailand as terror threat diminishes in wake of Bangkok bombing". South China Morning Post.