Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thailand terrorised

Thailand terrorised

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Guns are set up in a window display at the Ratchasima Gun Shop, located near the Terminal 21 shopping mall where a mass shooting took place in the northeastern Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, on Monday. AFP

Thailand terrorised

Thailand has been terrorised, albeit not in the conventional sense. The country bears witness to the deadliest mass shooting, one that has led to the deaths of no fewer than 30 people in a supermarket on Sunday.

While such killings are now almost integral to America, the extreme form of mental aberration as manifest in an individual’s relentless shooting spree has convulsed the nation that had emerged some months ago from almost chronic political instability.

No political or terrorist underpinning was a factor in the death of 30 people during the peak hour weekend shopping period. If Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s version of the mayhem is any indication, the rampage stemmed from an individual’s land dispute. As it turns out, it is the innocents who have fallen to a military renegade’s bullets, recalling the depredations of hardcore terrorists.

The gunman was said to be carrying weapons stolen from a military base. True, he was gunned down by the mall’s security network, but the military gear that he wore was the giveaway to his identity – Sergeant Major Jakrapanth Thomma.

In a nation where mass shootings are rare, Sunday’s bloody strife is bound to prompt deeper questions about the near total lack of security in the mall, the behaviour of a renegade soldier, the government’s response, the nature of the land dispute and the resultant depression that provoked the aggrieved to gun down 30 innocent shoppers.

Officials of the administration merely iterate the obvious when they contend that the “assassin simply went mad”. Perhaps he was a victim of what they call temporary insanity. That madness, it is now more than obvious, has found expression in calculated malevolence. Even if the gunman was enraged over a land dispute over the sale of a house, the conflict, without killing as many innocents as he did, could well have been resolved without mortal violence.

The assassin has been driven quicker to death than to the land and the house in course of the counter-mobilisation by the forces, led by Major-General Jirapob Purideth. The death of the shoppers, wholly unconnected with the root of the aberration, has heightened the enormity of the tragedy. Hours before the shooting, it is notable that Jakrapanth had denounced the “greedy” in a Facebook account.

“Rich from cheating. Taking advantage of other people. Do they think they can spend the money in hell? Death is inevitable for everyone.” It really is, with or without intimations of mortality. The sheer suddenness of the deaths in Thailand on Sunday has well and truly convulsed the nation, indeed prompting the Prime Minister and the military to intervene. But it will be foolish for authorities to conclude there wasn’t much they could have done in the face of one who went over the edge.

While the soldier had access to a weapon, so too do many Thai civilians as part of a culture of gun ownership that sees the country record twice the proportion of gun-related deaths annually than does the US. One in 10 Thais owns a registered weapon, many others acquire firearms from the black market. It is this culture of violence that the government in Bangkok must address.



  • PM orders immediate action against ‘sexy’ live streamers

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday ordered immediate action against women who live stream their sales pitches on Facebook wearing revealing clothing. The prime minister said the practice erodes traditional Cambodian values and disgraces women. Hun Sen gave the order to officials attending the Cambodian

  • Trump tweets praise for Kingdom docking ship

    Cambodia continues to earn praise for its humanitarian act of allowing the MS Westerdam cruise ship with more than 2,200 passengers and crew on board to dock at the Preah Sihanouk port. The praise this time comes from none other than US President Donald Trump. “Thank

  • Tourist area greenlit in Sihanoukville

    The National Committee for Coastal Management and Development will coordinate with relevant ministries over the establishment of a billion-dollar tourist area named Neak Reach in Preah Sihanouk province after it was proposed by the Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and

  • Organic vegetable retailer unveils QR code scheme for origin source

    Organic vegetable retailer Natural Agriculture Village has introduced QR codes on its product packaging, which will allow consumers to see where their produce comes from. Natural Agriculture Village president Bun Sieng, who is also a member of local distributor Green Gold, told The Post on

  • Hun Sen defends decision to dock Westerdam cruise ship

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday hit back at critics who say he allowed the Westerdam cruise ship to dock in Sihanoukville for political reasons. Speaking at an annual gathering of the Ministry of Interior, Hun Sen said he acted to avert a humanitarian catastrophe

  • Cool heads will defeat Covid-19

    Since Covid-19 was first reported as a world health issue, cruise ships have been the worst to suffer after airlines. The experiences of those who were initially trapped on the Covid-19-stricken Diamond Princess are unimaginable. The cruise ship was rejected from docking at one