Hat Yai Blasts


(Photo: Tanasinsakul)

Above: Sanchanusorn Road a half hour before the bomb at the Odean detonated.


(Photo: Tanasinsakul)

Above: Another view on Sanchanusorn Road showing yellow "King" shirts for sale

Almost like being there: Hat Yai blasts - September 17, 2006
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A personal account by 2B editor Ron Morris: On the night of September 16, 2006, I met our southern bureau chief at a restaurant in the heart of Hat Yai in southern Thailand. The restaurant was about 30 meters from one of the Hat Yai bomb sites at the Odean entertainment complex. We left the area about 30 minutes before the bomb went off.

While we were not there when the bomb went off, I can give some indication of the area. Sanchanusorn Street is one of the most lively, even chaotic, areas of Hat Yai at night. It has a Chinese ambience with people walking in every direction and talking loudly, outdoor seafood restaurants with exposed bulbs for lighting, and a brisk and vivid ambience.

I parked in Lee Gardens Hotel. Both cars and motorcycles were checked underneath with mirrors before entering the building.

At the lobby I overheard the receptionist say that Lee Gardens and other hotels in the area were at full occupancy. At the "Sky Buffet" on the 33rd floor, it was barely possible to exit the elevator as the restaurant was packed with a huge tour group waiting to eat. The four-floor mall at the base of the hotel was similarly packed and included a Panasonic event of some kind with speakers at full volume reverberating throughout the mall.

Outside, Sanchanusorn Road was packed with Malaysian Chinese tourists in town for a Malaysian holiday. Two outdoor Chinese restaurants and the adjacent shopping arcade were all doing brisk business while mini-songtaews (mini-busses created from pickup trucks) and motorcycles were crawling down the congested street. Every shop was selling yellow shirts celebrating the King 60th anniversary reign this year. Dozens of vendors plied the crowds selling Malaysian- and Chinese-language newspapers.

Striking this part of town is striking at the heart of Hat Yai and the remaining southern tourist trade.

Below are photos taken of the bomb damage on the morning of September 17, 2006.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Damage to the roof at Odean


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Traffic threads its way around the blast zone outside of Odean


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Another view of the blast area


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: Locals view the scene from across the street


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: It is believed a motorcycle bomb was parked along the street and detonated by a mobile phone

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