Monday dawned mournfully as bereaved individuals laid wreaths and showers of flowers in front of the bank, situated on the bustling Sunthorn Kosa Road in the vibrant Klong Toey district. This impromptu memorial paid homage to a devoted teacher from the respected Sacred Heart Convent School who was tragically caught in the crossfire during a clash of rival student gangs on the ominous day of Saturday.
The recent unrest of gun-related fatalities in Bangkok has prompted Interior minister Anutin Charnvirakul to contemplate the dire consequences of allowing civilians to carry guns in public. In the wakes of three heart-breaking shootings, his words echo concern for public safety. On Monday, the minister, who also dons the hat of a deputy prime minister, expressed this growing worry during a visit to the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation.
To address this crisis, Minister Anutin has reached out to the Department of Provincial Administration (DPA). The discussion focused on revising gun laws to impose stricter controls, with a special emphasis on preventing civilians, other than authorized officials, from carrying firearms in public. Currently, legally established gun owners can wield their firearm in public for self-defense, provided they have the necessary permit.
However, Saturday proved the dire need for these stringent controls, as chaos erupted in front of Sacred Heart Convent School in Bangkok’s Klong Toey district. Two rival student factions clashed, resulting in the painful death of an innocent teacher who was at a nearby bank ATM and got hit by a stray bullet. Her life was naught but collateral damage in this senseless scuffle.
Unfortunately, this was far from the only instance. On the fresh early hours of Monday, around 2 am, more gunshots echoed across Bangkok, stemming from another clash from opposing youth gangs. The scene this time was near the mouth of Soi Pattanakarn 53 on the frontage road of the Bangkok-Chon Buri motorway, in Suan Luang district. The shooting claimed another victim, a 15-year-old Mathayom 5 student caught and killed in crossfire. The police could only stand witness to the aftermath, collecting six spent bullet cases littered on the road.
Pulling the reins, permits for importing and trading firearms, both real and replicas, have now been suspended in light of these alarming events. This stark security measure draws from the haunting memory of the Oct 3 shooting at a Bangkok shopping mall. A 14-year-old boy there used a modified gun designed for blank ammunition but ended in a bloodbath, shooting three people dead and wounding five others.