11 July 2024

Panya Kamrab, the former police officer who committed mass murder at a child care centre in Thailand’s Nong Bua Lam Phu province on Thursday, had an unhappy childhood, with his parents separating, and was alleged to have resorted to drug abuse while studying at high school, according to an informed police source.

He was not talkative, but was prone to occasional outbursts of violence.

He did, however, do well in his education and managed to enrol at the police academy for non-commissioned officers and passed the drug test. While in the police service, he enrolled at Ramkhamhaeng University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law (Second Grade Honour).

While serving at a police station in Nong Bua Lam Phu province, he was aggressive and is reported to have fired his gun into the air and shot a few dogs and cats in the presence of his fellow officers, until he had his pistol confiscated by his superior.

Panya was reportedly receiving treatment for mental illness at a hospital in the province earlier in January this year. In that same month, he was caught with a methamphetamine tablet in his possession, for which he was indicted, resulting in his dismissal from the police service.

Then, he separated from his wife, according to the police source, adding that his application for a job at the Uthai Sawan Tambon Administrative Organisation (TAO) was rejected.

The child care centre where he went on the killing spree on Thursday is located in the compound of the Uthai Sawan TAO. His son also attended class at this centre.

The police source said that Panya’s history of drug abuse, his dismissal from the service and his family problems might be some of the reasons behind the atrocity.

38 people, including 22 young children in the child care centre, died in the rampage, including Panya, who committed suicide after he shot dead his wife and their 3-year-old son at home.