Gunman kills 2 before being shot dead in Thai courtroom

Thai police officers and investigators outside the Chanthaburi provincial court after a shoot-out yesterday. A gunman opened fire during a hearing into an inheritance dispute before a guard shot back and fatally wounded him. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRES
Thai police officers and investigators outside the Chanthaburi provincial court after a shoot-out yesterday. A gunman opened fire during a hearing into an inheritance dispute before a guard shot back and fatally wounded him. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BANGKOK • Three people were killed in a shoot-out at a Thai courtroom yesterday during a hearing into an inheritance dispute, according to police, who added that two of the victims were lawyers.

The gunman opened fire on the opposing side in the dispute in Chanthaburi provincial court before a guard shot back and fatally wounded him.

National police office spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen said that three people, including the assailant, were confirmed dead, while others were injured in the melee.

"Two are lawyers, another one is the shooter," he said, adding that they are still investigating why the courtroom feud turned deadly.

The identities of the victims were not released.

Gruesome images of the bloody courtroom scene circulated on social media. Chanthaburi is about 250km south-east of Bangkok.

Thailand has high rates of gun ownership and petty personal disputes, romantic and business rivalries are often resolved with bullets.

But the incident is the latest in a series of high-profile courthouse shootings that have exposed flaws in the legal system's security.

A week ago, three drug suspects - including an American - shot and stabbed their way out of a court in the seaside town of Pattaya before being tracked down by police.

 
 

Early last month, a Thai judge in the insurgency-battered south shot himself in the chest in front of a packed court after acquitting several murder suspects and decrying the judicial system in an impassioned speech.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2019, with the headline 'Gunman kills 2 before being shot dead in Thai courtroom'. Print Edition | Subscribe