Families of Bangkok blast victims come back home

Updated: 2015-08-22 08:16

By Timothy chui in Hong Kong(HK Edition)

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Parents of friends slain at shrine said to be coping

The grieving families of two local residents killed in a downtown Bangkok bombing on Monday evening returned with their daughters' bodies Friday.

The parents of Arcadia Pang Wan-chee, 24, and Vivian Chan Wing-yan, 19, were whisked away after returning to the city. But acting senior immigration officer for international cooperation Tong Wing-yee told reporters the families were holding up well. They have received counseling from the Hospital Authority.

Tong said the families' emotional states were all right after returning from Bangkok which suffered a bomb blast outside the popular Erawan Shrine.

The deceased were repatriated, landing at Chek Lap Kok airport at 5:30 pm while local authorities issued death certificates for the pair of friends.

Two other local residents injured by the blast also returned on Friday, with Chu Yat-on and Jaral Jintana taken to Eastern Hospital for follow-up treatment.

Three more Hong Kong residents remain in the capital including 9-year-old Jasmine Chu Sum-yu. She is recovering from a third emergency operation after complications arising from two prior procedures to remove bomb shrapnel from her thigh.

The other two are not in need of assistance and will return on their own, Tong said.

Immigration Department officers and a Hospital Authority representative sent to assist victims and families will remain in the Thai capital with Chu, who is also being accompanied by family members.

The father of Vivian Chan, Allen Chan Sui-wah, expressed gratitude to Thai authorities, telling Thai media that officials and doctors had done their best trying to save his child. Chan said he and his wife took the first available flight to Bangkok after being notified of their daughter's condition by Hong Kong officials on Tuesday at 3 am.

The explosion which has been linked to a suspect identified through surveillance footage claimed 18 other lives including five from the Chinese mainland, while 130 others received injuries with 63 still hospitalized.

Scores of residents, officials and tourists paid their respects to the victims at the blast site on Friday afternoon. They released balloons and doves following an interfaith ceremony.

Security has been visibly tightened in the Thai capital in an attempt to assuage concerns in the popular tourism destination. Meanwhile repair work at the scene was largely finished as mangled rails were replaced and the blast's crater filled in with fresh asphalt.

Monks tending the shrine re-consecrated the space although the Hindu shrine's golden statue of Lord Brahma only suffered minor damage, missing a chin from one of its four heads.

No group has yet come forward to claim responsibility for the blast, which Thai officials characterized as an attempt to damage the nation's economy and tourism sector. Officials said facial recognition software would be used to try and speed up identification of the still unknown assailant.

A red outbound travel alert for Bangkok remains in effect, with all tours canceled for following months.


(HK Edition 08/22/2015 page5)