Thai authorities focus on suspect seen in CCTV footage at blast site

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Thai Police Hone In on Bangkok Bombing Suspect

Thai authorities said on Tuesday they were looking for a suspect seen on closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage near a famous shrine where a bomb blast killed 22 people, nearly half of them foreigners.

The government said the attack during the Monday evening rush hour in the capital's bustling commercial hub was aimed at destroying the economy. No one has claimed responsibility.

SEE ALSO: Migrants ditch Turkey for twinkling lights of Kos

Jangling nerves in the city on Tuesday, a small explosive was thrown from a bridge towards a river pier, sending a plume of water into the air, but no one was injured.

See CCTV footage that appears to show a second smaller blast that hit Bangkok Thursday:

ภาพจากกล้องวงจรปิด วินาทีระเบิดท่าเรือสาทร ช่วง 13.00 น. ที่ผ่านมา เบื้องต้นไร้ผู้บาดเจ็บ-เสียชีวิตขอบคุณคลิปวิดีโอ : อาสาแจ้งข่าว

Posted by Thairath on Tuesday, August 18, 2015


The man suspected of the bombing at the Erawan shrine was seen in grainy CCTV footage entering the compound with a backpack on, sitting down against a railing and then slipping out of the bag's straps.

Wearing a yellow shirt and with shaggy, dark hair, the young man then stands up and walks out holding a blue plastic bag and what appears to be a mobile phone. The backpack was left by the fence as tourists milled about.

National police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang said the suspect could be Thai or foreign.

Images from the explosion site:

48 PHOTOS
Bangkok, Thailand explosion
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Thai authorities focus on suspect seen in CCTV footage at blast site
Police examine debris in front of the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, as investigations continue the morning after an explosion. Police combed through shattered glass and other debris Tuesday from a bomb blast in central Bangkok, trying to determine who set off the most devastating single attack in the capital's recent history. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Investigators walk towards the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, the morning after an explosion. Thailand's prime minister on Tuesday promised that authorities would quickly track down those responsible for the central Bangkok bombing, which he described as the country's worst attack ever. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
An investigator works near the statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai interpretation of the Hindu god Brahma, at the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection the day after an explosion in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Thailand's prime minister on Tuesday promised that authorities would quickly track down those responsible for the central Bangkok bombing which he described as the country's worst attack ever. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
This combination of images taken from video on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, and provided by MGTV shows people walking on an elevated skywalk as an explosion occurred in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's prime minister has promised to track down those responsible for the central Bangkok bombing which he described as the country's worst attack in history. (MGTV via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Police and soldiers wash the street in front of the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection the day after an explosion in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Thailand's prime minister on Tuesday promised that authorities would quickly track down those responsible for the central Bangkok bombing which he described as the country's worst attack ever. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Workers clean up the area around the statue of Phra Phrom, center, which is the Thai interpretation of the Hindu god Brahma, at the Erawan Shrine the day after an explosion in Bangkok, Thailand Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Thailand's prime minister on Tuesday promised that authorities would quickly track down those responsible for the central Bangkok bombing which he described as the country's worst attack ever. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The Erawan Shrine, right, and Rajprasong intersection remains closed in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, as investigations continue the morning after an explosion. Thailand's prime minister on Tuesday promised that authorities would quickly track down those responsible for the central Bangkok bombing which he described as the country's worst attack ever. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Soldiers move onlookers back from the shattered windows of a Louis Vuitton shop at Gaysorn shopping plaza across from the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, as investigations continue the morning after an explosion. Thailand's prime minister on Tuesday promised that authorities would quickly track down those responsible for the central Bangkok bombing, which he described as the country's worst attack ever. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Police use a magnetic tool as they examine debris in front of the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, as investigations continue the morning after an explosion. Police combed through shattered glass and other debris Tuesday from a bomb blast in central Bangkok, trying to determine who set off the most devastating single attack in the capital's recent history. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
This Aug. 17, 2015, image, released by Royal Thai Police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri shows a man wearing a yellow T-shirt near the Erawan Shrine before an explosion occurred in Bangkok, Thailand. Prawut said he believes the man is a suspect in the blast that killed a number of people at a shrine in downtown Bangkok on Monday night. (Royal Thai Police via AP)
This image released by the Royal Thai Police on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, shows a detailed sketch of the main suspect in a bombing that killed a number of people at the Erawan shrine in downtown Bangkok, on Monday. Thailand's national police chief said Wednesday that a deadly bombing at a central Bangkok shrine was carried out by "a network," as investigators focused on a man seen in a grainy security video leaving a backpack behind just 20 minutes before the explosion. The message above the sketch says "Criminal record registration department." (Royal Thai Police via AP)
This Aug. 17, 2015, image, released by Royal Thai Police spokesman Lt. Gen. Prawut Thavornsiri shows a man wearing a yellow T-shirt near the Erawan Shrine before an explosion occurred in Bangkok, Thailand. Prawut said he believes the man is a suspect in the blast that killed a number of people at a shrine in downtown Bangkok on Monday night. (Royal Thai Police via AP)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - AUGUST 19: The Erawan Shrine seen from the BTS walkway on August 19, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. On Monday evening Bangkok was hit by what has been described as Thailand's worst ever attack. Security across the country has been stepped up following the explosion which went off near a popular tourist site killing at least 20 people and injuring hundreds more. (Photo by Nicolas Axelrod/Getty Images)
Police investigate a scene the morning after an explosion in Bangkok,Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. A bomb exploded Monday within a central Bangkok shrine that is among the city's most popular tourist spots, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Police investigate a scene the morning after an explosion in Bangkok,Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. A bomb exploded Monday within a central Bangkok shrine that is among the city's most popular tourist spots, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
A policeman photographs debris from an explosion in central Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Thai rescue workers transport damaged motorcycles from the scene of a bomb blast outside a religious shrine in central Bangkok late on August 17, 2015. At least 16 people were killed and dozens injured when a bomb exploded today outside a religious shrine in a bustling hub of the Thai capital popular with tourists, authorities said. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
In this image taken from AP video, a man talks into a mobile phone after a large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others. (Photo via AP Video)
Motorcycles and debris are strewn across Rajprasong Intersection in front of the Erawan Shrine after an explosion in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A police officer stands in the middle of Rajprasong Intersection in front of the Erawan Shrine after an explosion in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - AUGUST 17: Police chief Somyot Poompanmoung is interviewed by the press at the scene of an explosion on August 17, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. A large explosion believed to a bomb has hit central Bangkok this evening with early reports suggesting at least 16 people have died and scores more have been injured. (Photo by Nicolas Axelrod/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - AUGUST 17: Policemen check with sniffer dogs at the scene of an explosion on August 17, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. A large explosion believed to a bomb has hit central Bangkok this evening with early reports suggesting at least 16 people have died and scores more have been injured. (Photo by Nicolas Axelrod/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - AUGUST 17: A policebooth with shattered windows near the scene of an explosion on August 17, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. A large explosion believed to a bomb has hit central Bangkok this evening with early reports suggesting at least 16 people have died and scores more have been injured. (Photo by Nicolas Axelrod/Getty Images)
Motorcycles and debris are strewn across Rajprasong Intersection in front of the Erawan Shrine after an explosion in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers enter the Erawan Shrine after an explosion in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Sackchai Lalit)
Officials close off an intersection after an explosion in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Sackchai Lalit)
Police investigate the scene after an explosion in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Emergency personnel work at the scene after an explosion in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Sackchai Lalit)
Thai soldiers inspect the scene after a bomb exploded outside a religious shrine in central Bangkok late on August 17, 2015 killing at least 10 people and wounding scores more. Body parts were scattered across the street after the explosion outside the Erawan Shrine in the downtown Chidlom district of the Thai capital. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Police investigate the scene at the Erawan Shrine after an explosion in Bangkok,Thailand, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said(AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Explosive Ordnance Division officers work at the scene after an explosion at an intersection in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Sackchai Lalit)
In this image provided by Mongkol Nunthalikitkun flames burn after an explosion in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (Mongkol Nunthalikitkun via AP)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - AUGUST 17: A rescue worker walks past the scene of an explosion on August 17, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. A large explosion believed to be from a bomb has happened in central Bangkok this evening with early reports suggesting 12 people have died and at least 20 more have been injured. (Photo by Nicolas Axelrod/Getty Images)
Motorcycles and debris lies on the pavement after an explosion in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Sackchai Lalit)
A Thai soldier (R) looks at the damage after a bomb exploded outside a religious shrine in central Bangkok late on August 17, 2015 killing at least 10 people and wounding scores more. Body parts were scattered across the street after the explosion outside the Erawan Shrine in the downtown Chidlom district of the Thai capital. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue workers carry an injured person after a bomb exploded outside a religious shrine in central Bangkok late on August 17, 2015 killing at least 10 people and wounding scores more. Body parts were scattered across the street after the explosion outside the Erawan Shrine in the downtown Chidlom district of the Thai capital. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Motorcycles are strewn about after an explosion in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Jerry Harmer)
19.42น. วงจรปิดเหตุระเบิดที่แยกราชประสงค์ เบื้องต้นเสียชีวิต 5 คน บาดเจ็บ 25 คน #onenews http://t.co/2DNDrI74Ah
Thai police inspect the scene after a bomb exploded outside a religious shrine in central Bangkok late on August 17, 2015 killing at least 10 people and wounding scores more. Body parts were scattered across the street after the explosion outside the Erawan Shrine in the downtown Chidlom district of the Thai capital. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Police investigate the scene after an explosion in Bangkok, Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. A large explosion rocked a central Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour, killing a number of people and injuring others, police said. (AP Photo/Sackchai Lalit)
Thai rescue workers transport an injured person after a bomb exploded outside a religious shrine in central Bangkok late on August 17, 2015 killing at least 10 people and wounding scores more. Body parts were scattered across the street after the explosion outside the Erawan Shrine in the downtown Chidlom district of the Thai capital. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
A Thai soldier ropes off the scene after a bomb exploded outside a religious shrine in central Bangkok late on August 17, 2015 killing at least 10 people and wounding scores more. Body parts were scattered across the street after the explosion outside the Erawan Shrine in the downtown Chidlom district of the Thai capital. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai rescue workers transport an injured person (C) after a bomb exploded outside a religious shrine in central Bangkok late on August 17, 2015 killing at least 10 people and wounding scores more. Body parts were scattered across the street after the explosion outside the Erawan Shrine in the downtown Chidlom district of the Thai capital. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
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ยอดล่าสุด ได้รับรายงาน เสียแล้ว 15 รายรอยืนยัน บาดเจ็บ 80 ราย / สปก ปภ @newsthaich8 http://t.co/4GIlLaGJeM
#ErawanBlast — Police confirmed most of those injured are foreign tourists. #Bangkok
@RichardBarrow @duiwoy one more picture from a friend there #BangkokBombing #Bangkok http://t.co/e7QruuAuI7
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"That man was carrying a backpack and walked past the scene at the time of the incident. But we need to look at the before and after CCTV footage to see if there is a link," Somyot told a news conference.

Police earlier said they had not ruled out any group, including elements opposed to the military government, for the bombing at the shrine, although officials said the attack did not match the tactics of Muslim insurgents in the south.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha also referred to the man as a suspect without giving details. He said there were "still anti-government groups out there", although he did not elaborate.

Police were at the blood-splattered site on Tuesday, some wearing white gloves and carrying plastic bags, searching for clues to an attack that could dent tourism and investor confidence.

The Thai baht THB=TH fell 0.57 percent to 35.57 baht, its weakest in more than six years, on concern the bombing may scare off visitors. Thai stocks .SETI fell as much as 3 percent.

Police said the death toll was 22, with 123 people wounded.

"Police are not ruling out anything including (Thai) politics and the conflict of ethnic Uighurs who, before this, Thailand sent back to China," Somyot said.

Thailand forcibly returned 109 Uighurs to China last month.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of members of the Turkic-speaking and largely Muslim minority have fled unrest in China's western Xinjiang region, where hundreds of people have been killed, prompting a crackdown by Chinese authorities. Many Uighurs have traveled through Southeast Asia to Turkey.

SEE ALSO: Memorials for the victims of the bombing:

21 PHOTOS
Bangkok, Thailand memorials
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Thai authorities focus on suspect seen in CCTV footage at blast site
BANGKOK, THAILAND - AUGUST 19: People pray in front the Erawan Shrine on August 19, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. On Monday evening Bangkok was hit by what has been described as Thailand's worst ever attack. Security across the country has been stepped up following the explosion which went off near a popular tourist site killing at least 20 people and injuring hundreds more. (Photo by Nicolas Axelrod/Getty Images)
Monks make offerings at the reopened Erawan shrine in Bangkok on 19 August 2015. Thai monks led prayers for the reopening of Bangkok shrine where a blast killed 20 people, as police hunted a man shown on security footage calmly planting what is believed to be the bomb. AFP PHOTO / Jerome TAYLOR (Photo credit should read JEROME TAYLOR/AFP/Getty Images)
ERAWAN SHRINE, BANGKOK, KRUNG THEP MAHA NAKHON, THAILAND - 2015/08/18: A memorials are set up outside Erawan Shrine a day after a bomb exploded close to the shrine in the center of Thailand's capital, Bangkok, killing at least 22 people and injuring more than 125. Reports say a second bomb has been found in the area and made safe. No-one has yet said they carried out the attack, which took place close to the Erawan shrine in Bangkok's central Chidlom district. The shrine is a major tourist attraction. The Thai government said the attack was aimed at foreigners. Local media report that tourists, including Chinese, are among the casualties. (Photo by Stephen J. Boitano/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ERAWAN SHRINE, BANGKOK, KRUNG THEP MAHA NAKHON, THAILAND - 2015/08/18: A memorials are set up outside Erawan Shrine a day after a bomb exploded close to the shrine in the center of Thailand's capital, Bangkok, killing at least 22 people and injuring more than 125. Reports say a second bomb has been found in the area and made safe. No-one has yet said they carried out the attack, which took place close to the Erawan shrine in Bangkok's central Chidlom district. The shrine is a major tourist attraction. The Thai government said the attack was aimed at foreigners. Local media report that tourists, including Chinese, are among the casualties. (Photo by Stephen J. Boitano/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A woman prays at the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. A central Bangkok shrine reopened Wednesday to the public after Monday's bomb blast as authorities searched for a man seen in a grainy security video who they say was the prime suspect in an attack authorities called the worst in the country's history. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Mourners pray for the victims of a bomb blast at the reopened Erawan shrine in Bangkok, Thailand, on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. Bangkok's deadly bomb attack this week is set to hit Thailand's last remaining growth pillar with travel warnings and canceled trips, adding pressure on authorities to restore confidence and stimulate the economy. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images
ERAWAN SHRINE, BANGKOK, KRUNG THEP MAHA NAKHON, THAILAND - 2015/08/19: People visit Erawan Shrine after it reopened two days after a bomb exploded close to the shrine in the center of Thailand's capital, Bangkok, killing at least 22 people and injuring more than 125. CCTV shows a man leaving a backpack on a bench at the shrine minutes before the bomb exploded. No-one has yet said they carried out the attack, which took place close to the Erawan shrine in Bangkok's central Chidlom district. The shrine is a major tourist attraction. The Thai government said the attack was aimed at foreigners. Local media report that tourists, including Chinese, are among the casualties. (Photo by Stephen J. Boitano/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A woman prays at the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. The central Bangkok shrine reopened Wednesday after Monday's bomb blast to the public as authorities searched for a man seen in a grainy security video who they say was the prime suspect in an attack authorities called the worst in the country's history. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai office workers light candles for victims killed in a bomb blast outside a religious shrine in Bangkok on August 18, 2015. The death toll from a bomb blast in the Thai capital rose to 20 on August 18 with 123 wounded, police said, with eight tourists from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore among those killed in the attack. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
A Thai lights a candle near the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection the day after an explosion in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha called Monday's explosion at the busy intersection "the worst incident that has ever happened in Thailand," and promised to track down those responsible. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai office workers lay flowers for victims killed in a bomb blast outside a religious shrine in Bangkok on August 18, 2015. The death toll from a bomb blast in the Thai capital rose to 20 on August 18 with 123 wounded, police said, with eight tourists from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore among those killed in the attack. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
A Thai office worker lights candles for victims killed in a bomb blast outside a religious shrine in Bangkok on August 18, 2015. The death toll from a bomb blast in the Thai capital rose to 20 on August 18 with 123 wounded, police said, with eight tourists from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore among those killed in the attack. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman lights a candle for the victims near the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection the day after an explosion in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha called Monday's explosion at the busy intersection "the worst incident that has ever happened in Thailand," and promised to track down those responsible. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai office workers lay flowers for victims killed in a bomb blast outside a religious shrine in Bangkok on August 18, 2015. The death toll from a bomb blast in the Thai capital rose to 20 on August 18 with 123 wounded, police said, with eight tourists from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore among those killed in the attack. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Messages of condolence are left for victims of the bomb blast at Rajprasong intersection near the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Thailand's prime minister on Tuesday promised that authorities would quickly track down those responsible for the central Bangkok bombing which he described as the country's worst attack ever.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - AUGUST 18: People leave flowers near the site of a blast at the Erawan Hindu shrine at the Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, August 18, 2015. The death toll rise to at least 21 and 123 injured from the deadly blast in Central Bangkok last night. (Photo by Guillaume Payen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Thai office worker holds flowers for victims killed in a bomb blast outside a religious shrine in Bangkok on August 18, 2015. The death toll from a bomb blast in the Thai capital rose to 20 on August 18 with 123 wounded, police said, with eight tourists from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore among those killed in the attack. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai office workers lay flowers for victims killed in a bomb blast outside a religious shrine in Bangkok on August 18, 2015. The death toll from a bomb blast in the Thai capital rose to 20 on August 18 with 123 wounded, police said, with eight tourists from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore among those killed in the attack. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai people light candles in front of notes of condolence for the victims near the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection the day after an explosion in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha called Monday's explosion at the busy intersection "the worst incident that has ever happened in Thailand," and promised to track down those responsible. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai people light candles near the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection the day after an explosion in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha called Monday's explosion at the busy intersection "the worst incident that has ever happened in Thailand," and promised to track down those responsible. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
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CHINESE CALL

The blast comes at a sensitive time for Thailand, which has been riven for a decade by a sometimes violent struggle for power between political factions in Bangkok.

An interim parliament hand-picked by a junta that seized power in a 2014 coup is due to vote on a draft constitution next month.

Critics say the draft is undemocratic and intended to help the military secure power and limit the influence of elected politicians.

The Erawan shrine, on a busy corner near top hotels, shopping centers, offices and a hospital, is a major attraction, especially for visitors from East Asia, including China.

Four Chinese, including two people from Hong Kong, were among the dead, China's Xinhua news agency said. A British resident of Hong Kong, two Malaysians, a Singaporean, an Indonesian and a Filipino were also killed, officials said.

Scores of people were wounded, including many Asian tourists. China urged Thailand to thoroughly investigate the blast and punish the perpetrators.

Tourism is one of the few bright spots in an economy that is still struggling, more than a year after the military seized power.

It accounts for about 10 percent of the economy and the government had been banking on record arrivals this year following a sharp fall in 2014 because of protests and the coup.

Occasional small blasts over recent years have been blamed on one side of the domestic political divide or the other. In February, two pipe bombs exploded outside a shopping mall in the same area as the Monday blast but caused little damage.

Thai forces are also fighting a low-level Muslim insurgency in the predominantly Buddhist country's south, but the separatists have rarely launched attacks outside their heartland.

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