Asia-Pacific

Bus-stop bombing kills one in Bangkok

Police inspect the site of an explosion at a bus stop in Bangkok (25 July 2010)
Image caption The bombing happened in the heart of the commercial district on Ratchadumri Road

A bomb has exploded at a bus stop in the Thai capital, Bangkok, killing one person and wounding 10 others.

The blast occurred in an area occupied by "red-shirt" anti-government protesters for weeks until a crackdown by the security forces in May.

It came as voting ended in a closely-watched by-election in the city.

Unofficial results suggest the government's candidate has defeated a leader of the protesters, who was running from his prison cell.

Panich Vikitsreth of the Democrat Party, Thailand's vice-minister for foreign affairs, was said to have won about 54% of the vote in the contest for a vacant seat in the House of Representatives.

A spokesman for his imprisoned rival, Kokaew Pikulthong of the Pheu Thai Party, had said the poll was a "referendum on the government".

Mr Pikulthong is being held for his alleged role in clashes between the red-shirts and government troops, which left 90 people dead.

On Tuesday, the government lifted the state of emergency imposed on three northern provinces during the unrest, although it remains in place in Bangkok and 15 other provinces. It allows authorities to detain opponents without charge, censor the press and ban public gatherings.

Following Sunday's bombing, government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said it showed why a state of emergency was necessary.

Officials said the explosive device had been hidden in a bin in the heart of the commercial district on Ratchadumri Road, and close to two department stores that were torched during the protests in May.

"I was selling drinks when I heard an explosion. At first I thought it was a tyre," Urai Wiengsong, a street vendor, told the Associated Press. "Then people started running off in different directions. I heard men and women scream and shout."

A 51-year-old man later died in hospital from his wounds, officials at the government's Erawan emergency centre said.