Three men have been arrested by Thai police today, October 5th, after police allegedly found their involvement in supplying a gun and ammunition to a 14-year-old shooter who killed two people and injured five others at Siam Paragon Shopping Center.
The suspects have been arrested under arrest warrants issued by the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court. They are currently in custody under suspicions that they sold a blank gun, bullets, and modified the gun for a 14-year-old who carried out a shooting spree at Bangkok’s Siam Paragon, resulting in the deaths of a Chinese woman and a Burmese woman, and injuries to five others.
The suspects have been identified by police as Mr. Suwanhong Brahma, 45, Mr. Akkarawit Jaithong, 22, and another man identified only as Mr. Piyabutr, 30.
The first two men were arrested in the southern province of Yala while police found the third man in Bangkok.
According to reports, the three men have been charged for “Unauthorized possession and distribution of firearms and ammunition for commercial purposes.”
Thai police have discovered that the 14-year-old boy, whose name continues to be withheld by police, purchased a blank Glock 19 gun online and transferred 16,000 baht to Mr. Suwanhong’s account.
Subsequently, Mr. Suwanhong made a cash withdrawal from an ATM at a gas station in Yala. Authorities raided Mr. Suwanhong’s house and also arrested Mr. Akkarawit who resided with him in the Sateang sub-district, Mueang Yala district.
Various items were seized from them, including 209 blank gun rounds, 33 discarded bullet casings, one 9mm bullet head, and 33 pieces of 15mm iron pipes used for gun modification, along with a bank withdrawal slip.
A deeper investigation also uncovered that Mr. Akkarawit is the owner of a Facebook page named “Koonseu Yabee,” which sold blank guns. The page has been around for 5 months until it recently closed on October 5th or a couple of days after the shooting incident took place.
As of press time, all three suspects continue to deny all the allegations. They are currently being transferred to the Yannawa Police Station for legal proceedings.
Survivor vividly recounts her harrowing moment inside the restroom near the incident scene
A Thai survivor of the incident named “Mink” recounted her terrifying experience to Thai media.
She said on the day of the incident, she was on the M floor of the shopping mall where the shooting happened, having just finished reviewing a restaurant and decided to browse for products.
Mink then entered the ladies restroom on the M floor, while her boyfriend went to a men’s restroom. The mall was crowded at the time, and there was a long line spilling out of the restrooms, she said.
The survivor was standing in line outside the women’s restroom when she heard a loud noise. She initially thought a hand dryer in the men’s restroom exploded, but when a second loud noise occurred, people started panicking and running. Mink quickly realized that it wasn’t just an explosion, but rather gunshots. Terrifyingly, the fourth gunshot hit a Burmese woman who had been standing in front of the women’s restroom, causing her to collapse.
The survivor immediately realized that it was a random shooting, not a fight, because the Burmese woman, who had been standing there with her, was unlikely to be involved. Therefore, she rushed into the women’s restroom. At the same time, she was concerned about her boyfriend, who was in the men’s restroom. After the gunshots occurred, her boyfriend didn’t run out with everyone else.
Mink went into the women’s restroom and locked the door. She tried to call her boyfriend, and her boyfriend told her to stay quiet and calm. He mentioned that there were shootings in the men’s restroom, and someone had been shot.
Subsequently, Mink’s boyfriend reunited with her in the restroom after the gunman walked far away from them. “At that moment, I looked at my boyfriend and thought it might be the last time we see each other,” the survivor said.
Her boyfriend recounted to Thai media that his survival might be due to him standing near the corner of the restroom, making it possible that the perpetrator didn’t notice him. The boyfriend also hid in the restroom and tried to stay as silent as possible.
However, the boyfriend was forced to find a new refuge when he noticed a backpack filled with bullets in his hiding place. Thinking the shooter might come back to retrieve it, he made a quick decision to run to join his girlfriend and other survivors in the women’s restroom.
The couple said they were lucky to be alive and felt sorry when they learned that the Burmese woman and another Chinese tourist had died. The Chinese woman was identified as a tourist and mother of two young daughters, the Burmese woman had been on a restroom break from her job at a toy store in the mall.