BANGKOK — A 14-year-old boy was arrested on Tuesday (Oct 3) after a shooting at a packed Bangkok mall that left two people dead and five wounded, and sent hundreds of panicked shoppers running in terror into the streets.
Witnesses described scenes of panic as the attack unfolded at Siam Paragon, one of Bangkok’s top shopping destinations, hugely popular with tourists and Thais alike.
“At around 4.30pm, I heard loud gun noises, continuously, about 10 times,” Mr Thanpawasit Singthongkham, 31, who works at a Japanese restaurant in the mall, told AFP.
“Then the department store announced that there was a shooting. The emergency sign was turned on and everyone ran to get out.”
In footage shared with AFP, he recorded a scrum of terrified shoppers scrabbling under metal security gates blocking shop entrances, before they fled down emergency stairwells as sirens blared.
In another video, shared on Facebook and verified by AFP, scores of people can be seen in the mall’s basement car park being directed by loudspeakers.
Dozens of police vehicles and a number of ambulances could be seen outside one of the shopping centre’s main entrances in the wake of the shooting.
“I heard multiple gunshots — about three times — and saw people running around towards the exits,” Mr Nattanon Dungsunenarn, who was shopping in a branch of Boots pharmacy, told AFP.
“It was very chaotic and seemed like many people didn’t know what exactly was going on.”
“We didn’t know what was happening, then staff from a shop asked us to go inside and said there was a shooter,” Chinese tourist Xiong Ying, 41, told AFP.
“Everyone was trying to find a place to hide. So many people were terrified, just like a scene in the zombie movies.
“I now feel quite scared. It happened just like two minutes after we left by crossing the bridge. We even took photos there.”
Almost a year on from the Oct 6 nursery massacre, the mall shooting will raise fresh questions about gun control in Thailand, which has one of the highest rates of firearm ownership in the region.
In 2020, a former army officer went on a rampage in a shopping mall in Korat, murdering 29 people and wounding scores more. AFP