Gunman opens fire in Bangkok and surrenders after six hours, no injuries reported

Police said the gunman was a civilian who was upset after a family dispute. PHOTO: FM91TRAFFICPRO/TWITTER

BANGKOK - A gunman fired dozens of shots near Chulalongkorn University in central Bangkok in the early hours of Friday (Feb 14) but deputy national police spokesman Krisana Pattanacharoen told The Straits Times no injuries were reported.

The incident came just six days after the kingdom experienced its first mass shooting in which a rogue soldier killed 29 people and injured 58 others in the north-eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima.

In the latest incident, the gunman surrendered about six hours later after taking refuge in one of the shophouses in the area, which is also near tourist hot spots like MBK Centre and Siam Paragon. Police sealed off the area while negotiating with him.

"This is not a mass shooting. Police have managed to control the situation. There is no need to panic," the police spokesman said.

Police said the gunman was a civilian who was upset after a family dispute.

On Tuesday, Army Chief General Apirat Kongsompong said Sergeant-Major Jakrapanth Thomma went on the rampage last week after a dispute with his commander and a relative over a housing deal.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has written to his Thai counterpart, Mr Prayut Chan-o-cha, to express his condolences over the mass shooting incident.

"This senseless act of violence deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms. Singapore stands in solidarity with Thailand during this difficult time," Mr Lee said in the message released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday.

Thailand has the highest civilian gun ownership rate in South-east Asia, research in 2017 by Geneva-based think-tank Small Arms Survey has shown.

The kingdom has an estimated total of 10.3 million guns, of which 4.1 million are unregistered. This means 15.1 firearms per 100 people, compared with Singapore's 0.3.

In Thailand's gun-vibrant culture, many sell weapons openly on Facebook pages and groups. Only two days ago, a 17-year-old boy was accidentally shot and killed in the western province of Kanchanaburi when another teenager was showing off his homemade gun.

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