Violence catches hawker by surprise

Violence catches hawker by surprise

DANNOK - Kanlaya Boontha thought it would be just like any other Sunday, with her busy cooking as many plates of char koay teow as she could for customers at her stall.

But she didn't expect it to end up with a bomb blast, and one that she barely escaped with her life.

The 31-year-old, who had lived here all her life, was working at her stall near Oliver Hotel when the explosion occurred at 12.45pm.

"There was no build-up. All of a sudden, there was an explosion. The impact flung me several metres from where I was standing."

She said in her daze, she was unable to comprehend what had happened.

"My ears were ringing as a result of the deafening blast. I was completely clueless over what had transpired until I saw people panicking and running away from the scene."

Despite being born and raised in town, this was Kanlaya's first direct encounter with the violence which for years had plagued Thailand's restive south.

Kanlaya, who suffered a cut on the left leg after being hit by flying glass shards from the explosion, said she could vividly recall the chaotic moments.

"For many of us, it was our first brush with violence.

"No one knew how to respond except to run frantically.

"I didn't know where to seek shelter as in my mind, the next bomb could be anywhere," she said from her bed at Sadao Hospital.

Minutes later, she was rushed to hospital together with 26 other victims. Two were seriously wounded and later transferred to Hat Yai Hospital.

Asked whether she would continue to ply her trade in front of the hotel, she said she had no option as she still had to feed her family.

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