‘Ping pong bombs’ disrupt ASEAN summit in Bangkok wounding three

Several small bombs exploded across Bangkok on Friday, rattling the Thai capital as it hosted a regional summit attended by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and leaving three people wounded.

Thailand, which has a grim history of political violence, remains deeply divided after a controversial March election returned a Thai junta to power as a civilian government.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, who led the junta, was told of “the bombing incidents and has ordered an immediate investigation,” Thai government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat said.

“Security measures have been tightened. The public is urged not to panic,” she added.

Small devices — believed to be so-called “ping pong bombs” around the size of a table tennis ball — exploded at several locations across the city.

They appeared to be symbolic attacks aimed at embarrassing the government during the major summit but not designed to cause mass casualties.

“Three people received slight injuries from shrapnel,” said Renu Suesattaya, director of Suanluang district where the first bombs were reported.

“I received a report that they are ‘ping pong bombs’ hidden in bushes by the road.”

Two further explosions shattered glass near a well-known downtown skyscraper, emergency police added.

Bomb disposal experts were deployed around the Mahanakorn Tower — owned by the King Power group, which counts Leicester City soccer club among its assets.

At least three other blasts hit the area around a government complex, authorities said.

The bombings took place just before a keynote speech by Pompeo, who has joined the Southeast Asian Foreign Ministers meeting, in which he praised Thailand for rejoining the “democratic fold.”

Thailand’s government urged the media to avoid speculation on the motive for the bombings.