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UPDATE: Makha Bucha Day massacre – 25 killed, 31 injured

The Thaiger

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UPDATE: Makha Bucha Day massacre – 25 killed, 31 injured | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A selfie posted by the alleged gunman 32 year Jakrapanth Thomma
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Hundreds of people were evacuated from Korat’s Terminal 21 shopping mall by late last night following a late afternoon shooting spree that’s currently claimed the lives of 25 and another 31 injured. As of this morning the gunman is still holed up in the shopping mall, apparently with hostages. The shopping centre, and surrounding areas, remains in complete lockdown and under the control of the crack ‘Hanuman’ unit from the Crimes Suppression Division (CSD).

Television footage showed hundreds of shoppers, some with young children, running from the shopping centre. Countless social media streams also broadcast the confusion and news across the internet, including a livestream from the suspect. Crowds of people have been donating blood at local hospitals in response to request to help the many injured patients that started turning up at the Korat hospitals.

This is the way events unfolded yesterday…

The carnage began around 3.30pm when the Thai Army soldier shot dead his commander and two others at the Surathampithak army base in Nakhon Ratchasima, north east Thailand, before stealing weapons, ammunition and a 4-wheel drive Humvee.

The slain commander was identified as 48 year old Col Anantharot Krasae. Thai media reported that the gunman had some sort of conflict over money with his commanding officer, that escalated into an argument. The reported motive has not been verified by authorities at this stage. A 63 year old woman was also killed at the camp, along with another soldier.

The gunman then headed into town, shooting randomly at citizens along the way, as he made his way to the Korat Terminal 21 mall.

The suspect was identified early as 32 year old Sgt-Maj Jakrapanth Thomma, an ammunition battalion officer working for the 22nd Ammunition Battalion, according to defence ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Kongcheep Tantravanich speaking to Thai PBS World.

Around 6.30pm there was a flurry of social media showing the soldier getting out of the stolen 4-wheel drive in front of the mall and firing a volley of gunshots, sending people scurrying for cover. The gunfire was ringing out clearly on the streamed footage.

The gunman fired at a cooking gas cylinder. It exploded and burst into fire. He paused for a moment and took a selfie with the fire in the background.

The gunman’s Facebook page was taken offline a few moments later, around 7.20pm. Facebook later confirmed that it had removed the account and “would also take down any other violating content related to this attack”.

Facebook announced in a statement… “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this tragedy in Thailand. There is no place on Facebook for people who commit this kind of atrocity, nor do we allow people to praise or support this attack.”

UPDATE: Makha Bucha Day massacre - 25 killed, 31 injured | News by The Thaiger

UPDATE: Makha Bucha Day massacre - 25 killed, 31 injured | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Associated Press/Sakchai Lalitkanjanakul

The Hanuman unit responded swiftly and arrived from Bangkok by helicopter. They quickly had the shopping centre and environs in a complete lockdown. Police also brought the suspect’s mother from Chaiyaphum province, just to the north of Nakhon Ratchasima, hoping she may be able to assist in negotiations.

Around 8.30pm the Unit said they were preparing to “engage” the shooter inside the shopping centre. In the meantime they helped evacuate as many people as they combed the lower floors of the mall.

“It’s still unclear on which floor or where the gunman is in hiding.”

It has since been reported that the assailant is holding 16 people hostage on the fourth floor of the mall.

At 11.30pm a police spokesperson announced that they had taken control of the Ground, 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors of the mall.

During the evening the army asked local media and netizens to stop streaming live coverage in order to “avoid giving the suspect information about official activities”.

The NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) also warned that people streaming inside the mall “were a potential threat to security operations”.

Random posts from the shooter included comments like…

“Nobody can avoid death”

“Should I surrender?”

“Oh shit, I’ve got cramps in my hand.”

“Being rich from taking advantage of others, do they think they can use money in hell?”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Crime

Bangkok cops bust online gun dealers

Greeley Pulitzer

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Bangkok cops bust online gun dealers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Police pose with seven firearms, 221 rounds of ammunition and 38 gun parts confiscated in raids this week - Chiang Rai Times

The chief of the Bangkok Metropolitan Police Bureau told a media briefing yesterday that officers have arrested six men and two women for selling firearms on Thai social media. They seized seven guns, ammunition and gun components. Police initially arrested Pairoh Chanchom for selling firearms without a licence. A subsequent, lengthy investigation led to raids on several premises and the arrest of seven accomplices.

Also arrested were 34 year old Thaweephan Jit-aree; 28 year old Saksid Kerdmanee; Suriyan Yodsaen, aged 38; 24 year old Kamphon Wongsriphuek; 28 year old Raen Senaphan, and two women; Intheera Thananwarawong, age 43 and 57 year old Uraiwan Krodsui. Officers seized seven firearms, 221 rounds of ammunition and also 38 gun parts. The suspects are charged with colluding in the illegal possession and sale of firearms and ammunition.

Police Major General Samran Nuanma, chief of Patrol and Special Operations Division 191, urges the public to call the 191 hotline if they have any information about unlawful activities on social media.

According to Gunpolicy.org of the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health, Thailand has about 10 million privately owned firearms or one for about every seven citizens. Of those, they estimate about 4 million are illegal.

“I can’t say whether Thailand has a gun problem, but it certainly has a gun culture,” says Michael Picard, GunPolicy.org’s research director.

“Guns are idolized as symbols of power and privilege, as they are expensive and not easy to legally obtain.”

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Crime

4 Uzbek women rescued from human traffickers in Pattaya

Greeley Pulitzer

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4 Uzbek women rescued from human traffickers in Pattaya | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Four women from Uzbekistan were rescued from a Pattaya condo yesterday - The Pattaya News

Four Uzbek women were rescued in Pattaya yesterday by Uzbekistan embassy officials and Chon Buri Provincial Police after allegedly falling victim to a human trafficking scam. A team of police raided a condominium in South Pattaya near the entrance of Phra Tamnak hill.

See the video version of this story HERE:

The raid comes after Chon Buri police learned from Uzbekistan’s embassy that an Uzbek woman was tricked into coming to Pattaya with the offer of a high paying job, but upon arriving discovered that the work was not as described and she was essentially held against her will. The Embassy was alerted to the woman’s plight by a concerned relative. Police did not disclose the exact nature of the work.

One of the women told police that she had been offered “a lot of money” for working in Pattaya but she didn’t receive the cash and was being held against her will. Her name is being withheld.

A total of four Uzbek women were found in the condominium, including the woman who had come to the attention of the Uzbekistan embassy. All were rescued and will return home with the help of the embassy.

Chon Buri police are continuing their investigation and looking into the individuals who lured the women to Pattaya and offered the alleged employment.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Crime

Chinese man found bound, dead in suitcase in northern Thailand had visited Pattaya

Greeley Pulitzer

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Chinese man found bound, dead in suitcase in northern Thailand had visited Pattaya | The Thaiger
PHOTO" Police retrieve the body of a Chinese man found bound and stuffeed in to a suitcase in Kamphaeng Phet province - The Pattaya News

The body of a Chinese man, with arms and legs bound, stuffed into a suitcase, has washed up on a sandbank in the Ping River in northern Thailand’s Kamphaeng Phet province. The body was doubled over and the ankles were tied with plastic cable ties. Red rope encircled the arms and legs.

Police believe the man was 30 year old Jun Wang, who had arrived on February 12 with a group of fifteen other Chinese nationals who visited Pattaya. The remainder of the group left the country on February 14, but Jun stayed on.

Police are investigating the connections the man had with the group and his reported residence in Pattaya.

A one kilometre stretch of the river was searched for an hour for additional clues.

An autopsy is being carried out at a forensics center in a hospital in Phitsanulok province and the cause of death is expected to be announced soon.

SOURCES: The Pattaya News | Thai Rath

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