Bangkok shopping mall shooting: Teenager modified plastic gun to fire real bullets

by Linda Khoo

BANGKOK, Oct 5: The teenage gunman who was suspected of killing two people and injuring five others inside Bangkok’s Siam Paragon Mall used a plastic pistol that was modified to fire real bullets.

Assistant Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, Pol Lt Gen Samran Nualma said the 14-year-old boy was taken into custody less than an hour after the first gunshots on Tuesday. The boy was immediately sent to the Pathumwan police station.

“The teenage boy used a modified plastic gun that fired real bullets. The barrel had been altered.

“The Royal Thai Police is reviewing regulations and laws related to gun control, which include regulations governing materials used to make weapons,” he said at a press conference here Wednesday.

The teenager, who has a history of mental health problems, allegedly shot dead a Chinese and Myanmar national and injured five others inside Siam Paragon Mall at 4:20 pm on Tuesday. The injured victims comprise one Laotian, one Chinese national, and three Thai nationals.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol said the shooting incident at Siam Paragon Mall, Thailand’s most iconic tourist destination for both locals and foreigners, was an isolated incident but it is one of great concern.

“The enforcement agencies will step up security measures including weapon screening in public areas and tourist spots,” she said.

The popular shopping mall, reopened for business today.

A visit to the mall today found that metal detectors have been installed at its entrances and security guards are conducting searches of customers’ bags at all entrances.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin returned to Siam Paragon Mall to open “SCBX NEXT TECH”, the world’s first tech community of the future era at Level 4 of the mall, today. 

He assured that the government is committed to preventing the recurrence of such incidents in the future.

“It is a force majeure event. However, I believe that government officials and Siam Paragon Mall have tried their best to minimise this damage.

“We hope that this incident is just a one-time event. The government confirms that we will definitely pay attention to the various preventive measures,” he wrote on X.

Srettha said the government will tighten control of the online sale of blank guns to prevent minors from accessing them.