KTB branch bombed in Narathiwat


A bomb explosion heavily damaged Krung Thai Bank (KTB) branch in Narathiwat’s Rangae district yesterday morning, causing a fire that engulfed five vehicles in a ground-floor parking area.

No injuries were reported.

Police recovered video footage from a security camera at the bank’s Tanyongmas branch. It showed a man climbing over a wall of the bank and planting the bomb, which was in a metal case, beneath a staff member’s car. The man then climbed back over the wall and fled with another man who was waiting outside on a motorcycle.

A provincial deputy police chief said the video footage could not be used to identify the bomber, because he deliberately hid his face behind a bag as he climbed in and out of the bank minutes before the explosion.

Portable devi-ces were set up to disrupt mobile-phone signals, and ordnance experts scanned the parking area and other departments of the bank before an inspection of the scene could begin, for fear that more bombs might have been planted to kill or injure police investigators.

The blast destroyed four cars and a motorcycle parked beneath the bank and caused a fire that damaged most of the exterior of the three-storey building.

Bank manager Weerasak Lao-hakul, who said KTB’s Tanyong-mas branch had received a bomb threat in March, announced there would be an indefinite closure of the branch.

The head of the Commercial Banks’ Association in Narathiwat, Kanokporn Lertanantawong, said bank customers would be asked not to use the regular parking spaces, and all banks would try to provide parking spaces away from their buildings.

She said all local commercial banks had also agreed to install security cameras at their entrances and exits and to hire additional security personnel.

Meanwhile, a civil-defence volunteer died in hospital yesterday after being shot by four attackers on two motorcycles while he was riding home. Police quoted witnesses as saying that one pillion rider who shot Chamnarn Thepsuwan was wearing the traditional outfit of a Muslim woman.

On Monday night, a bomb exploded at a warehouse in Tanyongmas town, causing minor structural damage but no casualties.

Police said the bomb was detonated by mobile phone.

Warehouse owner Withoon Sophonwirayanon said he saw two men plant the bomb near the warehouse gate. They fled on a motorcycle, and about five minutes later the bomb was detonated.

Withoon said a fire-bomb had been thrown at the warehouse a month ago. He believed separatists were responsible for both attacks.

Also, security officials raided a house in Narathiwat’s Rangae district yesterday and found bomb-making materials. They arrested a woman named Tuan in the house but gave no other details pending further investigation.

Yesterday’s raid followed a tip-off from a Muslim man whose house had been raided last Friday, which had led to the seizure of other bomb making equipment, police said.

Published on June 22, 2005

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