On Saturday, 31 March 2012, there was an explosion and fire at the Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel in Hat Yai, Songkhla province. According to the Royal Thai Police, the explosion and fire was due to the detonation of an explosive device in a vehicle in the car park located under the building.
Unfortunately, the incident resulted in three fatalities including a visitor from Malaysia. Around 400 other people were evacuated from the hotel and the shopping mall located in the building, most with minor or no injuries. The Tourism Authority of Thailand offers its sincerest regrets to those people affected by the incident.
Hat Yai is the southernmost major city in Thailand, located about 750 Km from Bangkok. Around 54 Km north of the border with Malaysia, Hat Yai is a well-known destination for Malaysian visitors.
The TAT Hat Yai office, Hat Yai police, Hotel Association and local authorities have set up an assistance center opposite the Lee Gardens Plaza Hotel. The assistance center is helping travellers who were staying in the hotel to find alternate accommodations or retrieve their belongings. The Governor of Songkhla province has also announced financial assistance and compensation will be provided to travellers affected by the incident.
The Royal Thai Police suspect that the incident in Hat Yai may be linked to other insurgent activities that took place in Yala province earlier on Saturday. Yala province is immediately south of Songkhla province.
The police have tightened security in Hat Yai and are working with senior government officials to conduct an investigation into the incident. Hat Yai International Airport, and train and bus services are operating as per normal, but with heightened security.
The Hat Yai Songkran Midnight Festival will continue as planned at Odian Intersection, Hat Yai District, Songkhla during April 11-13, 2012, as will other Songkran activities in Hat Yai.