Three arrested for selling gun, ammo to Thai mall shooting suspect

05 Oct 2023 05:50pm
Police officers and rescue workers stand outside Siam Paragon shopping centre in Bangkok on Oct 3, following a shooting incident in the mall. - Photo by AFP
Police officers and rescue workers stand outside Siam Paragon shopping centre in Bangkok on Oct 3, following a shooting incident in the mall. - Photo by AFP
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BANGKOK - Thai police on Thursday arrested three men accused of selling a gun and ammunition to a 14-year-old suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting at a Bangkok mall.

The teenager has been charged with murder over Tuesday's attack at the Siam Paragon mall, which police say was carried out with a blank-firing pistol modified to shoot live rounds.

Officers in Yala province in Thailand's deep south arrested a father and son in the early hours of Thursday on suspicion of selling a gun to the boy.

"Police raided their houses to find more evidence connected to the case," a senior Yala policeman told AFP.

"They were sent to Bangkok for questioning."

Officers later arrested a third man in Bangkok on suspicion of selling ammunition to the teenager. Police said he does not know the other two suspects.

Hundreds of shoppers fled the packed upmarket mall in fear as shots rang out on Tuesday afternoon.

Seven people were shot in total, and a woman from China and another from Myanmar were killed.

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The suspect has been charged with attempted murder, carrying and firing a gun in a public place, and owning an unlicensed firearm.

He is undergoing psychiatric testing to see if he is fit to stand trial -- he had previously been receiving treatment for a mental illness but had stopped taking medication, according to police.

The shooting has sparked fresh calls for tighter gun control in a country awash with both legal and illegal weapons.

It came days before the first anniversary of the deadliest massacre in modern Thai history, in which an ex-policeman armed with a gun and knife attacked a nursery in the country's north, murdering 24 children and 12 adults.

According to an international database, Thailand has an estimated 10 million guns in circulation -- one for every seven citizens, and one of the highest rates of ownership in the region.

In 2020, a soldier gunned down 29 people in a mall rampage in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin vowed Wednesday to bring in "preventative measures" to prevent further tragedies. - AFP

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