Police officers at a shop where shots were fired on Feb 14, 2020. (Photo: May Wong)

Thai man fires dozens of gunshots in central Bangkok, days after Korat mass shooting


BANGKOK: Dozens of gunshots were reportedly fired by a man near a university in central Bangkok on Friday morning (Feb 14), less than a week after a gunman killed 29 people in Nakhon Ratchasima province.

The person was later identified as 44-year-old Ekkachai Jareuksilpa. He fired his handgun outside commercial buildings on the alley of Chula Soi 10 in Pathumwan district, near Chulalongkorn University. 

Hours of standoff between Ekkachai and police officers eventually led to his arrest at about 10am local time.

He is reported to have fired the gun in different directions. There were no injuries from the incident, according to Pol Lt Gen Phukphong Phongpetra, chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau. 

Authorities are investigating the cause of the shooting.

READ: 29 dead after "unprecedented" mass shooting - Thai PM

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Despite zero fatalities, the incident has triggered concerns about copycat attacks as it came only a few days after the mass shooting in northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province, which is also known as Korat. 

READ: Gun violence in Thailand: A problem that can't be solved?

READ: Commentary: Uncovering the dangerous subculture behind gun violence in Thailand

On Feb 8, a soldier killed 29 people and injured 58 others in a shooting rampage that took place at a private residence, an army base, a Buddhist temple and a shopping mall. 

The youngest victim was a 13-year-old boy. 

The gunman was later shot dead by security officers inside the department store, where he held a number of people hostage.

Gun violence is widespread in Thailand. The country has millions of powerful weapons, many of which are illegal and unregistered. 

In 2017, violent gun deaths in Thailand was the second highest in Southeast Asia after the Philippines. 

According to research by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, there were 3.71 gun deaths per 100,000 people in Thailand, compared to 9.20 deaths per 100,00 people in the Philippines.