Bangkok mall shooting: Thai PM pledges highest safety measures for tourists

04 Oct 2023 10:04am
Armed police walk along the exterior of Siam Paragon shopping centre in Bangkok on October 3, 2023, following a shooting incident in the mall - AFP
Armed police walk along the exterior of Siam Paragon shopping centre in Bangkok on October 3, 2023, following a shooting incident in the mall - AFP
BANGKOK - Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin pledged to implement the highest safety measures to ensure the security of foreign tourists following the tragic incident in which two individuals were killed in a shooting spree at Bangkok's Siam Paragon Shopping Mall on Tuesday.

Srettha instructed relevant agencies, such as the police, Tourism Ministry, Foreign Ministry, and Public Health Ministry, to investigate the cause of the shooting incident and develop measures to prevent such occurrences in the future.

"From now on, the Thai government will implement the highest safety measures for all tourists,” he wrote on ‘X’ (formerly known as Twitter).

Thai police confirmed that two individuals - a Chinese and a Myanmar national - died and five people were injured in the shooting at Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, Thailand's most iconic shopping mall, which is a magnet for both locals and tourists.

The injured victims, comprise one Laotian, one Chinese national, and three Thai nationals.

Police apprehended a 14-year-old teenage gunman soon after the incident which took place at 4.20 pm (local time).

Srettha also visited the scene of the shooting as well as the wounded at two hospitals.

He expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the Chinese tourists who were injured or killed in the shooting incident, through the Chinese Ambassador to Thailand Han Zhiqiang.

Srettha said Han expressed his appreciation for the Thai authorities' swift and thorough response to the shooting incident.
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"The (Chinese) Embassy has requested that the Thai government provide clear and transparent information about the incident, so that the Embassy can communicate this information to the Chinese people and help to mitigate any negative impact on tourism,” he said.

Fears of a negative impact on tourism in Thailand have been raised after the shooting incident at the shopping mall, as the country is aiming to revive its tourism industry.

Thailand has granted a temporary visa exemption for a 30-day stay, starting Sept 25 until Feb 29 next year. China has historically been a source of tourists for Thailand, comprising 11 million visitors or 27.69 per cent of all arrivals in 2019, the year preceding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, national police chief, Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol said the suspect has a history of mental illness.

"He told authorities that he had been hearing voices telling him to shoot people,” he said.

Meanwhile, a private school, The Essence, which is located metres from Siam Paragon, confirmed the suspect was one of its students.

The school offered condolences to the families of the victims and requested that the public respect the privacy of the juvenile gunman's family.

Mass shootings are rare in Thailand; however, this is the third gun attack in recent years.

In 2020, a soldier shot and killed 29 people and wounded 58 in a rampage that spanned four locations around the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima.

On Oct 6 last year, 36 people were killed in a gun and knife attack at a childcare centre in Nong Bua Lamphu province. It was the country’s deadliest incident of its kind - BERNAMA

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