Connect with us


Opinion: Usual suspects



PHUKET: Authorities here in Phuket have acted sensibly in the wake of the recent terrorist bombing at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, stepping up security at popular tourist destinations across the island and urging the public not to unduly panic or believe everything they see in social media.

Sadly, in this case, it was not only the social media where unfounded conjecture took place far ahead of any proven facts.

Soon after the blast, easily the worst terror incident in the country’s history, at least one domestic media source quoted ‘unnamed police sources’ as saying that those responsible were Uighers, a Muslim minority group in western China who feel they face persecution by the ruling Han Chinese.

The ‘reasoning’ in this case, stated with no backing evidence whatsoever, was that the attack was retribution against the Thai and mainland Chinese states for deporting a group of some 90 Uigher refugees back to China last month. The Erawan Shrine was therefore chosen because it is popular with Chinese tourists – or so it was reported.

Subsequent Facebook reports by one well-known expat resident in Bangkok stated that a Uigher suspect had already been captured. The reports quickly proliferated, only to be debunked soon thereafter.

Other groups quickly thrown into the conjecture cauldron included the usual suspects: anti-government insurgents fighting for independence in the Malay-Muslim majority Deep South; ‘red-shirt’ forces aligned with ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra; and even rogue forces within the Thai security apparatus itself.

The list will continue to grow as conspiracy theorists continue their orgy of speculation in the absence of enough solid evidence, just as the lack of solid answers following the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in March last year led to more than twenty different hypotheses, ranging from reasonable scenarios like a cockpit fire to many far-fetched stabs in the dark, such as the US military shooting it down or aliens abducting it.

As the current issue of the Phuket Gazette went to print, the identity of those responsible remained (and still remains) unknown, although CCTV images of a man who apparently left behind a backpack at the site provide hope that the perpetrator (or perpetrators) will be captured soon, not only to be brought to justice, but also to put a lid on the bubbling cauldron of conjecture.

In its nightly news segment on Tuesday night, the National Council for Peace and Order did a good, straightforward job in updating the public about the situation regarding the blast, with interpretation in English and Chinese. Hopefully, additional evidence recovered at the scene of a second, thankfully botched, bombing at the Taksin Pier the following day will help investigators to close in on those responsible.

Out of respect to the victims and their families, the Gazette would like to support the government’s call not to share, or even ‘like’, graphic images of the injured and deceased that have gone viral in the social media in recent days.

Rather, we hope the island’s expat community and English-speaking Thai community will use social media to help paint a clear picture about the security situation on the island as the high season for tourism draws near.

Last but not least, we offer our sincerest condolences to the victims and their families in this time of terrible grief.


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Bangkok11 mins ago

Fire at Bangkok’s CentralWorld mall sends shoppers scurrying (video)

Video30 mins ago


Transport43 mins ago

Disruptive Phuket-bound passenger thrown off flight in Karachi

Sponsored1 day ago

Marketing in Thailand as a Foreigner: Volume #3 The Marketing Noises

Tourism1 hour ago

Air Canada’s Vancouver-Bangkok flight touches down Thailand

Bangkok Travel17 hours ago

Ari All Link is a must-attend skill-up workshop for Ari people

Cannabis News19 hours ago

Anutin responds to photo of cannabis smoking kids on Pattaya Beach

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Education20 hours ago

Thai student allegedly raped by Hyderabad U professor

Tourism20 hours ago

Phuket welcomes 6,730 flights in December

Tourism21 hours ago

Thailand tourism predicted at 80% of pre-Covid in 2023

Transport23 hours ago

Bangkok airport expansion prepares for bidding war

Crime23 hours ago

Child Protection Foundation leader faces child labour charges

Road deaths23 hours ago

Red-Bull hit-and-run prosecutor dismissed

Transport24 hours ago

Phuket flight cancellation due to earlier cancelled flight, runway maintenance

Election1 day ago

Pheu Thai Party under fire as Tuhao-Shinawatra connection exposed

Video1 day ago

THAIGER PODCAST | Ep.14 Saving Thai cats one paw at a time

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11