BANGKOK • A shoot-out between two teenage gangs in a popular shopping district in Bangkok left at least one Indian tourist dead and four others injured.
The deadly skirmish occurred on Sunday in central Bangkok's Pratunam district, known for being a tourist-friendly area with cheap shopping and night markets.
Police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen said in a press statement that several teenagers "had an argument, and started shooting in a small alley near a Bangkok mall".
There was a group of Indian tourists waiting for a tour bus nearby when gunfire broke out.
"Police are still hunting for the group of teenagers," the statement said.
The Nation newspaper reported that the shooting took place in a side street, behind the Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel. The hotel is located adjacent to the Watergate Pavillion mall.
A health official from Bangkok's Erawan Centre - the dispatch centre for the city's emergency medical services - told Agence France-Presse that one Indian tourist died and four others were injured.
One person, a Laotian admitted to the police hospital, "is still alive", the hospital official said.
According to Police Major-General Senit Samararn Samruajkit, three young men armed with rifles had opened fire on their rivals following a dispute at a nearby snooker parlour. He cited witnesses as saying that some 20 young men armed with pistols, knives and sticks then ran from the snooker parlour into the street, where the three men carrying rifles again opened fire.
It identified the Indian national who died in hospital as 42-year-old Gakhrejr Dheeraj.
Police earlier said the Laotian tourist, 28-year-old Keovongsa Thonekeo, had also died in hospital, before correcting its statement to say the tourist survived, The Nation reported.
Indian tourist Sharma Dharmendra, 45, was injured, along with two Thai men, Mr Thaksin Suk-iad, 22, and Mr Pornthep Pumpuang, 23.
Tour guide Juli Sawang-aroon, 62, said the Indian victims belonged to a group of Indian tourists taken by coach to dine at the India Gate restaurant on the ground floor of the mall. The area is also home to many tourist shopping hot spots, such as Platinum Fashion Mall and Pratunam Market.
After the dinner, the tourists were given some time to shop before the coach took them back to their hotel. Those who had finished their shopping had returned to the carpark on the street to wait for their coach.
According to Police Major-General Senit Samararn Samruajkit, three young men armed with rifles had opened fire on their rivals following a dispute at a nearby snooker parlour.
He cited witnesses as saying that some 20 young men armed with pistols, knives and sticks then ran from the snooker parlour into the street, where the three men carrying rifles again opened fire.
Maj-Gen Senit said the rival gangs are believed to be made up of youngsters in the area.
The police are investigating the shooting.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, XINHUA