11 July 2024

State agencies are flying the Thai national flags at half-mast to mourn the deaths of victims of a mass shooting in the northeastern province of Nong Bua Lam Phu on Thursday.

The flying of flags at half-mast is being done for today at the order Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who said he was greatly saddened by what is known as Thailand’s worst mass shooting.

On Thursday night, President of the Privy Council, General Surayud Chulanont, visited 3-year-old Krisakorn Riangcharoen last night at Udon Thani provincial hospital. The victim was seriously injured and his mother, who was also at the nursery, was killed. His grandmother was also injured.

The young boy was shot in the head and had to be transferred from Nong Bua Lam Phu Hospital to the Udon Thani Hospital for urgent surgery, which took more than an hour.

General Surayud told the boy’s family that His Majesty the King had agreed to accept him and the other injured victims under his sponsorship until they all recover from their injuries.

A total of 38 people, mostly young children aged from 3 to 6, were killed and 12 others injured in the attack, perpetrated by a former police officer who later committed suicide after killing his wife and their child at their home.

The gunman, former police officer Panya Kamrab, shot a man and a boy dead as they were having lunch at the office of the Uthai Sawan Tambon Administrative Organisation (TAO). Then he barged into the child care centre, located in the compound of the TAO, and attacked about 30 young children, aged from 2 to 5, with a knife and a pistol. A pregnant teacher was shot dead.

22 children and two teachers died at the child care centre. Seven others were injured and one child escaped unhurt, probably because the perpetrator thought he was already dead.

A witness told the media at the TAO office that she alerted officials at the child care centre to lock all the doors, after the gunman shot people while they were having lunch.

Anucha Burapachaisri, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister said yesterday that Prime Minister Prayut was profoundly saddened by the horrific incident and urged all Thai people to offer moral support to one another, so they can overcome this tragedy.

He said the prime minister will visit the families of the dead and injured in Nong Bua Lam Phu province this morning (Friday), adding that the committee in charge of the fund for victims of public disasters had agreed to provide 200,000 baht each to families who have lost a loved one, to cover funeral costs and support, and 100,000 baht to each to the seriously injured.

Those who have been permanently disabled by their injuries will receive 100,000 baht in compensation.

The Chartthaipattana Party yesterday ordered all its executive committee and party members to wear black on Friday, in a symbol of mourning for the dead.

Meanwhile, the National Press Council of Thailand, the News Broadcasting Council of Thailand and the Online News Providers Association issued a joint statement urging all media to exercise caution in their news coverage by not publishing graphic images of the dead and injured or news which may increase the distress of the families of the victims.