JOHOR BARU: The Bangkok luxury mall shooting was a traumatic experience for Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim and his family, who were within earshot of the incident.
Recounting the anxious episode, the Johor crown prince said he and his family were sitting at a hotel lobby near the mall and when the shots were fired, he heard loud screams and saw hordes of people fleeing from the shopping centre into the hotel.
“We immediately brought our young children to a safe place by running underground with my team. I was also concerned about the crowds of people out there and what weapon was used, as well as the overall situation,” he said in a statement on his official social media accounts.
Tunku Ismail added that there was a need to stay alert for any possibilities because at the time, what they only knew was the sound of shots being fired.
“I can still recall what I told my kids during that moment, to reassure them that Babah and Mama are here, everything will be back to being okay,” he said.
On Tuesday, a suspected assailant aged 14 killed at least two people and injured many others when he fired multiple shots in Siam Paragon, one of the prominent shopping malls in central Bangkok.
Videos shared on social media showed people, including children, running out of the mall with security guards ushering them.
Tunku Ismail added that he and his team formed a human shield to protect his family while his wife Che’ Puan Besar Khaleeda Bustamam hugged and tended to their crying children.
He said he also instructed his security team to bring the car to the basement and take them to a safe location.
“I told them to bring us to the Malaysian Embassy but the driver informed me that the Singaporean Embassy was closer, so I contacted the Singapore consul-general in Johor.
“At the embassy, I also contacted the Malaysian Prime Minister and Defence Minister to inform them about what had happened. The Malaysian ambassador to Thailand was also with us,” he added.
Tunku Ismail said after ensuring that it was safe to head to the airport, they departed for Johor.
“Unfortunately, I had to miss the Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) football match but I am grateful that my family and team are safe.
“This is the worst experience I have been through. Having to protect my children from a murderer. People died. May Allah bless their innocent souls.
“I am thankful to my security team as well as friends in Singapore and Malaysia who assisted us. I am eternally grateful,” he said.
The crown prince was in the Thai capital for his football club JDT’s match against Thailand’s BG Pathum United for the Champions League Group I match at the BG Stadium.