Thai authorities seek to assure tourists of safety after mall shooting

A bouquet of flowers is offered in front of the Siam Paragon Mall in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. The teenage boy who allegedly shot a few people dead and wounded some others inside the major shopping mall in the center of Thailand’s capital used a mock handgun that had been modified to fire real bullets, police said Wednesday.

A teenage boy opened fire at a crowded shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, killing at least two people, authorities said.

Here’s what we know:

The 14-year-old suspect was taken into custody by police “less than an hour after the first reported gunshots at the Siam Paragon Mall, one of Bangkok’s biggest and most upscale shopping destinations,” The Associated Press reported.

One of the people killed was a female visitor from China and the other was a Myanmar national, per AP. At least five people were injured in the shooting.


Teen suspect in Thai mall shooting had history of mental illness, authorities say

Police Gen. Torsak Sukwimon said the teen had a history of mental illness and was being treated in a hospital, but he had stopped taking his medication prior to the shooting, according to The New York Times.

“He felt that someone told him to shoot this and that person,” Torsak said, per the Times. “It’s like he has another ‘him.’”

Police found the suspect in the mall and “cornered him in a designer furniture shop,” where he surrendered, per Reuters.

Gun ownership in Thailand

Mass shootings are considered somewhat rare in Thailand, but gun ownership in the country is considerably high in comparison to other Southeast Asian countries. According to data from the Small Arms Survey, “more than 10.3 civilians hold firearms in Thailand, or around 15 guns for every 100 people. About 6.2 million of those guns are legally registered,” per CNN.

“While the case is still under investigation and some details cannot be shared, please rest assured that the appropriate measures are being taken,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Kanchana Patarachoke said, per CNN. “The government’s priority is to ensure the safety of Thais and foreigners alike and that such tragedies are prevented in the future.”