Aussie injured in Thai grenade blasts speaks

A young Australian man, who was hospitalised after a bomb blast during violent protests in Bangkok, says he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, as the Thai royal family pledges to financially support victims of the attacks.


Benjamin Rowse, 26, from Melbourne, was injured on Thursday when a bomb exploded at the Sala Daeng skytrain station in the Thai capital.

The violence was the result of clashes between local pro-government and anti-government protesters.

Consular staff contact Rowse

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman told AAP on Friday Mr Rowse was treated for minor injuries at the Bangkok Christian Hospital.

“Consular staff from the Australian Embassy in Bangkok visited him at the hospital on April 22, to provide him with consular assistance,” the spokeswoman said.

Mr Rowse has been in contact with his family, who have also been offered consular assistance.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Mr Rowse said he was about to board a train when the explosion occurred.

‘Wrong place, wrong time’

He told the Nine Network he “saw all the army and thought maybe it’s not a good place to be” but put the incident down to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mr Rowse’s father Steve said he and his wife felt relieved.

“We’re just relieved that it’s not worse, but still (feel) just a bit dazed as to the events that have occurred,” he said.

Mr Rowse was injured when a series of grenade blasts ripped through a pro-government rally in Bangkok, killing three people and wounding more than 70.

The unrest stems from protests by anti-government red shirt demonstrators, who are concentrated in the Bangkok city centre.

DFAT renews travel warning

Australians have been warned to reconsider travel to Thailand because of deteriorating security.

DFAT said renewed violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces remained a strong possibility in Bangkok.

“We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Thailand due to the recent deterioration in the security environment caused by widening political unrest and civil disorder occurring in Bangkok and other parts of the country,” an updated department advisory said.

Monarch to support victims

Meanwhile, the Thai palace has confirmed the royal family will pay the medical and funeral expenses for victims of the grenade attacks.

“The king granted medical expenses for the wounded people and funeral expenses for the dead,” the Royal Household Bureau said in a statement, adding that the amount would be decided on a case-by-case basis.

The violence came almost two weeks after a failed attempt by authorities to disperse anti-government Red Shirt protesters sparked fierce street fighting that left 25 people dead and more than 800 injured.

The royal family also offered assistance for the medical and funeral expenses for the victims of those clashes.

Opposition wants meeting with King

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has no official political role but is seen as a unifying figure, has made no public comment on the recent violence.

The chairman of Thailand’s leading opposition party said this week that he had asked for an audience with the king to help resolve the political crisis, but palace officials said that no formal request had been received.

During a 1992 uprising the revered king — the world’s longest-reigning monarch — chastised the military and protest leaders, effectively bringing the violence to an end.

The 82-year-old monarch has been hospitalised since September and has made few public appearances since.