Crime & Justice

Thailand to review gun laws in week marked by shootings

Bangkok, Oct 5 (EFE).- Authorities in Thailand have promised to review the country’s gun laws, days after a deadly shooting at a shopping mall in Bangkok and on the eve of the first anniversary of a massacre at a kindergarten that killed dozens of people.

Speaking to the media, Thai Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the proposed measures include banning gun licenses for civilians, registering blank weapons and prohibiting minors from accessing shooting ranges.

Anutin, who met with several government agencies to discuss the proposals, said that limiting imports of weapons will also be considered, according to public broadcaster Thai PBS.

Authorities were still investigating Tuesday’s shooting by a 14-year-old suspect armed with a modified blank pistol who killed two people – a Chinese tourist and a Myanmar employee – and injured five others at the Siam Paragon shopping mall in the heart of Bangkok.

Police on Thursday four people had been arrested on charges of illegal possession and modification of weapons and were investigating whether they sold the juvenile the modified blank gun he allegedly used in the attack.

According to preliminary investigations, the perpetrator of the attack bought the gun on the internet for 16,000 baht (about 430 dollars or about 410 euros) and trained at a shooting range.

The teenager, who was admitted to a juvenile detention center on Wednesday, has been charged with five offenses, including murder and attempted murder.

Friday marks one year since a former police officer went on a killing spree at a kindergarten where he stabbed 20 children and also shot passers-by in the street in the northeastern province of Nong Bua Lamphu.

The massacre, which left 36 people dead, including at least 24 children, left a deep wound in the small rural town of Uthai Sawan, where the attacker also killed an 8-month pregnant woman.

The killer later barricaded himself in his home, where he killed his wife and child before committing suicide.

The perpetrator had been dismissed from the police force for drug problems, but at the time of the attack he was not under the influence of any narcotics.

Two years earlier, 29 people were killed and 58 others were injured when a soldier opened fire at a shopping mall in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima before being shot dead by police.

These shootings in Thailand, which were previously unheard of in the southeast Asian country, have triggered a debate over gun control.

According to Small Arms Survey data, Thailand has about 10.34 million guns – about 15.14 per 100 civilians – the highest ratio in Southeast Asia and one of the highest in Asia.

In addition, a total of 4.1 million guns are unlicensed or not legally registered in Thailand. EFE

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