6 June 2024

A Thai criminologist claims that the mass murder at a child care centre in the north-eastern province of Nong Bua Lam Phu yesterday (Thursday) will not be the last of its kind and suggests that it is time for Thai society to rethink the firearm possession and drug abuse problems.

This opinion was voiced by Associate Professor Dr.Krisanaphong Poothakool, assistant rector and chair of the Faculty of Criminology and Justice Administration at Rangsit University, during an interview with Thai PBS last night, following the mass shooting and knife attack at a child care centre in the province yesterday, in which 38 people areconfirmed dead, including the perpetrator, his wife and their son.

He said that this is the second mass murder in the country, after the one in Nakhon Ratchasima two years ago in which31 people were killed, including the army officer perpetrator.

He quoted a news report that the former police officer who committed yesterday’s atrocity, Panya Kamrab, used narcoticswhile he was studying at high school which, Dr. Krisanaphong said, might have had direct impacts on his brain and affected his decision making. This, he added, can be proved by means of a blood test.

Dr. Krisanaphong said he suspects that the former police officer might have been suffering from stress after beingdismissed from police service and his anger suddenly exploded, like a time bomb.

He noted, however, that this case will have to be studied and investigated to discover the “trigger” which caused the outburst of anger, to the extent that he could kill and maim children who had nothing to do with his situation.

He also pointed out that reports of the perpetrator’s aggressive behaviour, such as disobeying his superiors, firing shots into the air, family problems and alleged drug abuse, might offer a clue to the causes of the violent outburst.

On why the child care centre was chosen, the criminologist explained that the venue is defenceless and he might have been familiar with access to the place, probably compounded by suspected drug use before committing the crime yesterday.

He also said that the perpetrator might not have initially intended to kill himself, because he had torched his own car inan attempt to destroy evidence which might implicate him.

On the issue of the possession of firearms, he suggested that people who want to buy a gun, officials in particular, may, in the future, need to be subject to a mental health examination and criminal record check before they are granted a permit.

He also recommended controls on the purchase of ammunition, citing the case in Japan where a gun owner can buy ammunition only when they show the seller the spent shells

As in the mass shooting in Nakhon Ratchasima two years ago, he said the perpetrators were officials who were trained in the use of firearms. The difference between the two men was that Thursday’s killer had been dismissed from the service because of his drug abuse.