RATCHAPRASONG – The Central Pattana Group today reported that a large bomb was detonated inside the Central Embassy mall on August 17, the same day as the Erawan Shrine explosion.
Due to the lack of people inside the mall, the explosion caused no casualties, and was in fact completely unnoticed until yesterday when a member of the maintenance staff asked management whether the hole in the 3d floor atrium was supposed to there.
“It appears that Central Embassy was the second victim of the co-ordinated terror attack on Bangkok in August,” said the Group’s PR manager at a press conference at the mall this morning. “However, due to the absence of any shoppers, visitors, or staff in the immediate area, there was no injury to report. Or any report at all, until now.”
According to initial police investigations, the explosion happened at 6:56 pm on August 17, almost simultaneously with the Erawan bomb nearby. Security camera footage shows a detonation from what appears to be an abandoned Central shopping bag left near the 3d floor art installation.
The explosion, which is being estimated as equivalent to 6 kilos of TNT, ripped apart the art installation, broke a gap into the floor, and completely destroyed two nearby shops, a Scotch and Soda boutique and Maison Martin Margiela. Neither shop was occupied with either shoppers or staff, as both had chosen to close at 4pm for the fourth consecutive week due to an absence of traffic.
The blast was heard by two hosting staff at the also-empty Din Tai Fung. However, they thought it was just a bass drop from the DJ set being played upstairs at the unattended Hip Hop Night on the terrace.
The massive hole in the floor and black blast marks were discovered the next day by maintenance staff, but were thought to be just another high-concept pop-up store.
The possibility that a bomb had gone off wasn’t even considered until this week, when the Sol and Gravite Bridal manager, returning from a long vacation from the unvisited store, inquired why the windows in the shop had been shattered.
The Central Embassy Mall is the flagship venue of the Central Pattana Group, Thailand’s largest retailer. Opened with great fanfare in 2013, the Central Embassy location has been plagued with extremely low visitor numbers and reported discontent from retail tenants, many of whom have shortened their operating hours or canceled their leases outright.
However, the Central spokesperson was quick to dismiss any connection between the absence of casualties and the mall’s failure to attract shoppers.
“We’re very pleased to report that no one was hurt,” said the Group’s PR Manager. “And we think it was very lucky, considering that Central Embassy is Bangkok’s favorite destination for luxury and lifestyle,” she added, gesturing behind her to where a single small group of Chinese tourists wandered through the vast, white foyer space.
Police intend to charge the crime to the suspects already arrested for the Erawan bomb. In addition to damaging mall property, they will be charged with disturbing the peace, littering, and attempted murder of hypothetical customers.