Two men arrested over gun sale to teen suspected in Bangkok mall shooting

The men are accused of selling a gun to a 14-year-old suspected of killing three people in the Siam Paragon mall.

A 14-year-old suspect arrested after a shooting at Siam Paragon shopping centre in Bangkok
The Siam Paragon mall shooting has brought back calls for stronger gun control [Handout/Central Investigation Bureau of the Royal Thai Police via AFP]

Police in Thailand have arrested two men accused of selling a gun to a 14-year-old suspected shooter who allegedly killed three people in a Bangkok shopping centre.

The suspect has been arrested for Tuesday’s killings at the Siam Paragon mall. He has also been charged with carrying and firing a gun in a public place and owning an unlicensed firearm.

On Thursday morning, officers in the country’s southern Yala province arrested the duo on suspicion of providing the boy with the blank-firing pistol that was modified to shoot live rounds at the mall.

“Police raided their houses to find more evidence connected to the case,” a senior Yala policeman told the AFP news agency. “They were sent to Bangkok for questioning.”

Hundreds of shoppers fled the mall on Tuesday as shots rang out and hit seven people.

The suspect had previously been undergoing treatment for a mental illness but stopped taking medication, according to police.

He is now undergoing psychiatric testing to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

Calls for gun control

Thailand has also witnessed other instances of gun violence in recent years.

October 6 will mark the first anniversary of a daycare shooting – one of the deadliest massacres in modern Thai history – which saw an ex-policeman killing at least 35 people with a gun and a knife.

In 2020, a Thai soldier killed 29 people after holing himself up in a shopping centre.

The Siam Paragon mall shooting has brought back calls for stronger gun control.

The country has seen an influx of legal and illegal weapons and one of the highest gun ownership rates in Southeast Asia.

An international database reported that Thailand has approximately 10 million guns in circulation – one for every citizen.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Wednesday promised to bring in “preventive measures” to avoid more such incidents.

Source: AFP