3rd October 2023 – (Bangkok) A 14-year-old boy opened fire at the Siam Paragon Mall in the heart of Bangkok on Tuesday, resulting in at least two deaths and six injuries. The victims were identified as individuals from China and Myanmar. The shooter subsequently surrendered to the police, who discovered a 9mm Glock 19 handgun in his possession.
The incident occurred at approximately 4.20pm local time, with witnesses reporting hearing around 10 gunshots. A large number of people inside the shopping mall immediately fled outdoors upon hearing the gunfire. Special police forces swiftly arrived at the scene and initiated a search operation. At 5.10pm., they surrounded the shooter on the third floor near a hotel, where he peacefully surrendered without offering any resistance. A Chinese tourist recounted that upon hearing the gunshots and the mall’s alarm, she and others sought refuge and eventually managed to leave the premises unharmed.
Initially, the Bangkok Emergency Center reported three deaths and six injuries. However, the police later clarified that two individuals had died, including a Chinese tourist in her thirties. The Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, expressed his awareness of the incident and ordered a thorough investigation, emphasising deep concern for public safety.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in Thailand’s website reported on the evening of 3rd October that a shooting incident occurred at the Siam Paragon mall in Bangkok. Unfortunately, one Chinese citizen was killed, and another Chinese citizen was injured. Upon learning of the situation, the Chinese Embassy in Thailand swiftly activated its emergency response mechanism, verified the details, and worked with relevant Thai authorities to handle the aftermath. Consular officials were dispatched to the scene to gather information and visit the injured in the hospital. The identities of the victims have been confirmed, and the injured individual has been taken to the hospital and is in stable condition.
Hong Kong’s Immigration Department, upon learning of the shooting at the major Bangkok shopping center, promptly contacted relevant authorities, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese Embassy in Thailand, the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, and the Tourism Commission, to gather information. As of now, no requests for assistance from Hong Kong residents have been received. The Immigration Department will maintain close communication with the aforementioned agencies to closely monitor the situation’s development.
For Hong Kong residents abroad requiring assistance, they can contact the Immigration Department’s 24-hour hotline for assistance at +852 1868. Alternatively, they can use the Immigration Department’s mobile application to make a voice call via internet data to the 1868 hotline, send a message to the 1868 WhatsApp hotline, or submit an online assistance form.
Thailand has relatively high firearm ownership compared to other countries in the Southeast Asian region. According to data from the Small Arms Survey (SAS) based in Switzerland, over 10.3 million civilians in Thailand possess firearms, equating to approximately 15 guns per 100 people. Around 6.2 million of these guns are legally registered. In Southeast Asia, Thailand ranks second in terms of gun homicides after the Philippines, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s 2019 Global Burden of Disease database.
While Thailand faces significant challenges related to gun violence, mass shootings are rare in the country. The previous deadliest incident of its kind occurred in October 2022 when a gun and knife attack at a child care center in northeastern Thailand claimed the lives of at least 36 people.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, offering support to the bereaved and the injured.