Following a shooting that left two people dead in a Bangkok shopping mall and renewed concerns about the country’s gun laws, Thailand’s prime minister promised “preventive measures” on Wednesday. The Siam Paragon mall reopened less than 24 hours after the massacre, Thailand’s third high-profile fatal gun assault in four years, and shoppers started trickling back in.
The shooting at one of Bangkok’s largest, most upscale malls would be a further setback for the country’s attempts to recover its key tourist sector after the plague. Prior to extending the government’s condolences to the families of the two female victims, one Chinese and one from Myanmar, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin participated in a moment of silence at the mall.
He said that Siam Paragon and government representatives had made every effort to limit the number of victims and property damage. “Let this be the sole instance of it. Without going into any detail, he said, “My administration says we will give priority to preventative measures.
Within a few meters of Siam Paragon, police detained a 14-year-old suspect who attended the $4,000-per-term private school. According to investigators, the child was receiving mental health treatment, had stopped taking his medicine, and claimed to have heard voices urging him to kill others.
– OLD PROMISES
The assault employed a blank-firing handgun, Assistant National Police Chief Samran Nuanma said during a press conference on Wednesday. Samran said, “But the barrel was changed for live fire.” “We will tighten the laws and regulations governing the use of firearms.”
However, earlier vows to enact stricter gun control measures have not succeeded in stopping catastrophes. Days before the anniversary of a massacre at a nursery in northern Thailand that claimed 36 lives, the Siam Paragon shooting occurred.
And in 2020, a former army officer went on a shooting spree in a mall in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima in the northeast of Thailand, killing 29 people. One estimate has the number of firearms in use in Thailand at 10 million, or one for every seven people, making it the country with the highest ownership rates in the area.
Though many weapons are brought into the nation illegally, online sales are becoming an issue, according to former police officer and current professor Kritsanapong Phutrakul. Only a few police officers, he told AFP, “have the knowledge, skills, and experience to track the gun market online.”
IMPACT OF TOURISM
After the Covid-19 epidemic travel restrictions caused tourist numbers to decline, Thailand is in a desperate attempt to revive its tourism industry. China is an important market, but numbers are not returning as quickly as Thai authorities would like. Before the outbreak, China brought around 10 million tourists to Thailand annually.
This is partially due to concerns in China about whether Thailand is a secure vacation destination, and the fact that one of the victims of the mall shooting was Chinese is unlikely to change this.
After speaking with the Chinese ambassador late on Tuesday, Srettha released a statement promising “the highest safety measures” for visitors. On Wednesday, AFP reporters saw increased security at Siam Paragon with certain entries to the large mall having bag searches, but not all of them.