The blast site (Photo: AFP)

No Vietnamese nationals have been reported injured or killed in a bomb blast in the Thai capital city, Bangkok, on August 17 that killed at least 19 people, Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Tat Thanh has confirmed.

The Vietnamese Embassy’s staff visited hospitals where victims are being treated, but did not come across any Vietnamese nationals, Thanh said, adding that the embassy will maintain contact with relevant Thai agencies for further information.

The embassy is warning Vietnamese nationals to stay away from the area on its website, the diplomat said.

Local police said among the dead are ten Thais, one Chinese and one Filipino. The others have not yet been identified.

The explosion, which occurred at about 7 pm (local time) near the Erawan Shrine at Ratchaprasong intersection, also injured more than 120 people, including some hailing from China, the Philippines and Singapore.

Police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said the blast was likely politically motivated and designed to bring “chaos.”

National Police Chief Somyot Pumpanmuang held that the explosive was planted by attackers and aimed at taking lives.

“It was a TNT bomb…the people who did it targeted foreigners, aiming to damage tourism and the economy,” Thai Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said.

The Nation newspaper of Thailand quoted the Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC) as saying there were three possible reasons for the blast, including political conflict, cabinet reshuffling and international terrorism. The ISOC ruled out insurgents from the southern end of the nation.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha called an emergency meeting with high-level government officials and military officers in charge of national security affairs at the National Police headquarters near the intersection.

The government has not made any declarations on closing schools or trade centres and denied rumours that it had declared a state of emergency in Bangkok.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has announced that all schools under the BMA will close on August 18 due to concerns over the safety of teachers and students.

Also on August 17, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that he "was shocked to learn of the explosion in Bangkok today close to the Erawan shrine and the loss of life of innocent civilians," and voiced his hope that "those responsible will be brought to justice."-VNA