BANGKOK (AFP/The Nation/Asia News Network): Thai police have arrested three men accused of selling a gun to a 14-year-old suspected of carrying out a shooting attack at a Bangkok mall that left two people dead.
The teenager has been charged with murder over Tuesday’s (Oct 3) attack at the Siam Paragon mall.
Police say the the suspect used a blank-firing pistol modified to shoot live rounds.
Officers in Yala province in Thailand’s deep south arrested two men in the early hours of Thursday on suspicion of selling a gun to the boy.
“Police raided their houses to find more evidence connected to the case,” a senior Yala policeman told AFP.
“They were sent to Bangkok for questioning.”
The third person, a resident of Bangkok, was also in police custody, according to The Nation.
One suspect modified the blank gun, another sold the weapon, and the third withdrew the money earned from their sale from an ATM, according to Thai media reports.
Hundreds of shoppers fled the packed upmarket mall in fear as shots rang out on Tuesday afternoon.
Seven people were shot in total, and a woman from China and another from Myanmar were killed.
The 14-year-old suspect has been charged with attempted murder, carrying and firing a gun in a public place, and owning an unlicensed firearm.
He is undergoing psychiatric testing to see if he is fit to stand trial.
The teenager had previously been receiving treatment for a mental illness but had stopped taking medication, according to police.
The shooting has sparked fresh calls for tighter gun control in a country awash with both legal and illegal weapons.
It came days before the first anniversary of the deadliest massacre in modern Thai history.
An ex-policeman armed with a gun and knife attacked a nursery in the country’s north in October 2022, murdering 24 children and 12 adults.
According to an international database, Thailand has an estimated 10 million guns in circulation – one for every seven citizens, and one of the highest rates of ownership in the region.
In 2020, a soldier gunned down 29 people in a mall rampage at Nakhon Ratchasima.
Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Wednesday vowed to bring in “preventative measures” to prevent further tragedies.