Two people were killed and five others injured after a teenage gunman went on a shooting spree inside a busy shopping mall Thailand’s capital Bangkok on Tuesday, police said.
(Bloomberg) — Two people were killed and five others injured after a teenage gunman went on a shooting spree inside a busy shopping mall Thailand’s capital Bangkok on Tuesday, police said.
A Chinese national and Myanmar citizen were dead in the attack inside the Siam Paragon shopping mall, a popular spot among the foreign tourists, Thailand’s Police Chief Torsak Sukvimol told a briefing. Local media, including Thai-language Thairath newspaper, had earlier reported the death toll as three.
The shooter was a 14-year old boy, sporting a baseball cap and t-shirt, according to images broadcast by local television channels. The attacker, who was nabbed by the police, was previously treated for mental illness and had skipped taking medicines, Torsak said.
The mall, owned by Siam Piwat Co., was evacuated after the shooting incident with the entry to the nearest Skytrain station sealed, The Standard reported, citing a police official. The injured were being treated in two different hospitals in the city, Thairath reported.
The attack comes as Thailand is anticipating a surge in foreign tourist arrivals under a visa-free program announced for visitors from China and Kazakhstan. The Southeast Asian nation, popular for its beaches, Buddhist temples and national parks, is forecast to receive up to 30 million holidaymakers this year, more than double the tally in 2022.
Read More: Thailand Sees $4 Billion from China Tourism After Visa Waivers
“The shooting will hurt confidence of tourists and sentiment,” said Burin Adulwattana, chief economist at Bangkok-based Kasikorn Research Center. It also “increases downside risk to Thailand’s fragile economic recovery. The government will need to try its best to restore confidence.”
While mass shootings are not very common in Thailand, a former cop used an automatic weapon to fire at a daycare center in northeastern Thailand last year, killing 36 people, mostly preschoolers. Since then, the government has ordered a crackdown on unlicensed gun owners and compulsory registration of all firearms.
Thailand has a so-called welfare gun program that allows police and local officials to buy weapons for personal use at steep discounts. The country has about 10.3 million firearms, or a civilian gun ownership of 15.1 per 100 persons, the second-highest in Asia after Pakistan, according to the Thailand Development Research Institute.
–With assistance from Suttinee Yuvejwattana.
(Updates death toll in headline and lead after police statement.)
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