BANGKOK – Seven Malaysian victims involved in the bomb blast in Bangkok on Monday evening are from the same family, the family has been informed that four out the of the seven have died.
55-year-old Neoh Hock Guan, a pastry business owner, departed last Saturday on a train with his family from Butterworth Penang to Hua Hin and Bangkok, and were at Erawan Shrine last evening to pay their homage to the deity.
Neoh and his eldest daughter Ee Ling, 32. were injured in the incident, while his wife Lim Saw Gek (49), youngest son Jai Jun (20), son-in-law Lee (33) and 4-year-old granddaughter were killed. His sister-in-law Jessee Lim is still missing.
Neoh’s daughter Ee Ling is five months pregnant, and her 4-year-old daughter was confirmed dead at a Bangkok hospital this morning. Ee Ling and Lee’s six-year-old son had been sent to Lee’s father before they set off for Thailand last weekend.
Neoh’s youngest son Jia Jun, a student at a university in Taiwan, was back in Malaysia last month for vacation while Jessee is a permanent resident of Singapore.
Businessman Vincent Lim Gim Seong, 46, a close friend of the family, said they were supposed to return on Tuesday (Aug 18). He said he has known the family for over 10 years ago as they were neighbors.
“They left for Bangkok last Saturday by train and was supposed to return this morning,” said Mr Lim, shedding tears as he spoke to reporters outside the family’s home in Taman Dedap in Butterworth, Penang.
Mr Lim added that it was not uncommon for the family to travel together as they had done so many times in the past.
The other remaining family members were too distraught and refused to speak to reporters.
A large number of Malaysians have taken to social media to express sympathy with those affected by the Bangkok bomb blast.
Many said: “It could have been me.”
That was the prevailing sentiment after they heard news of the deadly blast.
Malaysian Sherry Cheah Shu Yi, who was visiting Bangkok with friends, said she had walked past the site of the blast just five minutes before the explosion.
“When I heard the explosion it was terrifying because I knew it was not something I’ve heard before, so I immediately thought that it might be a bombing,” said Ms Cheah, who was on the nearby Skywalk when the bomb exploded.
“I just felt like getting away fast from that place… I felt pretty scared, my eyes were darting here and there and heart was beating fast,” said the 26-year-old IT specialist.
Ms Cheah told The Star that she almost had dinner at Central World, which was one of the malls near the explosion.
“All of us were thinking how close we were to being in that explosion if we had left slightly later,” she said.
She said that she was “relieved” when she arrived back at the hotel, and didn’t feel like leaving for dinner after the harrowing experience.
Ms Cheah will be returning to Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday night.
Another Malaysian Cathrynn Wong said she heard the explosion when she was getting into a taxi 1km away from the scene.
“We heard a loud bang, sort of a thunder clap, but there was something different to the sound,” Ms Wong told The Star.
“We didn’t think much of it as we really didn’t expect anything like an explosion would occur,” said the 26-year-old.
“I’m still a bit shaken by this incident, and still walk around Pratunam market feeling a bit paranoid about my surroundings,” Ms Wong added.
Several other visitors to Bangkok took to social media to share their close encounters with the blast and to assure family and friends that they were safe.
Mr Benjamin Yong, founder of food and beverage company the BIG group, who was in Bangkok at the time of the blast with his wife Elizabeth Lee, said that they were safe.
“An amazing day out in this beautiful city with the lovely @elizabethshenlyn. Thank you for everyone’s concern. We’re safe back at the hotel,” he said in a post on Instagram.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims… of this cowardly, malicious act,” said Mr Yong.