UPDATE: A bomb blast near a popular temple in central Bangkok has killed 16 and injured 81 people, as confirmed by Thailand's chief of police. Reuters reports:
Several media outlets had earlier reported that 27 people were killed but national police chief Somyot Poompanmuang told reporters the death toll was 16 in an attack he said was unprecedented in Thailand.
Thai authorities have not confirmed any suspects, but said the attack was probably meant to target tourists in the busy downtown area.
"The perpetrators intended to destroy the economy and tourism, because the incident occurred in the heart of the tourism district," Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told Reuters.
The aftermath of the explosion is captured in this video posted to Instagram:
Another video posted to Twitter purportedly shows CCTV footage of a bright flash as the bomb went off at around 7 p.m. local time yesterday.
Thai police confirmed the explosion was caused by a bomb, possibly attached to a motorcycle, according to Channel News Asia:
"I can confirm it was a bomb, we can't tell which kind yet, we are checking," national police spokesman Lieutenant General Prawut Thavornsiri told AFP. Deputy National Police Chief Aek Angsananond told Reuters that it was a motorcycle bomb.
Police de-activated two more bombs nearby, the Bangkok Post reports, which were tied to an above-ground train station.
Editor's note: the original version of this post reported the death toll in the bombing as 27, and the injuries at 79, based on media reports including Reuters.