Minister of Justice Thawee Sodsong suggests that the government will have to look at the law relating to the prosecution of individuals under 15 years of age, given significant changes in society and critical trends as identification of the killer and publication of personal photos is ruled out by authorities for now as the court determines his medical status.
A 45-year-old Thai man, a Brahim teacher, arrested in Yala province on Wednesday after a Bangkok court issued arrest warrants for three men, continues to tenaciously deny any involvement in the sale of a prop gun and ammunition to a 14-year-old killer, who carried out a mass shooting in the capital. The teenager accused of mass shooting and murder, whose lawyers claim mental incapacity, was transferred to the Galya Rajanagarindra Institute for Psychiatric Treatment from a Bangkok juvenile detention centre on Thursday. It comes as police at Yanna Police Station in Bangkok issued three additional warrants for people associated with firearm and ammunition sales involved in the shooting spree, many of whom allowed their bank account to be used for relatively small payments, as little as ฿1,000. It has also emerged that the accused, charged with premeditated murder, used a loan scheme to fund the ฿16,000 purchase of the prop gun which he had engineered to fire live bullets and put to deadly use in Tuesday’s atrocity which took the life of a Chinese tourist, the mother of five-year-old twin daughters and a young Burmese shopping centre employee whose funeral rites are currently underway in Nonthaburi, just outside Bangkok.
A father and son were among three men remanded to Bangkok Remand Prison by Bangkok South Municipal Court on Saturday after being charged in connection with the sale of a prop firearm and ammunition to the mentally ill 14-year-old private school student who murdered two people and injured five on Tuesday afternoon at the Siam Paragon Shopping Centre.
The father has strenuously denied involvement with the outrage since his arrest on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the 14-year-old killer, who lawyers claim suffers from severe mental illness, was reported on Friday to have been admitted to the Galya Rajanagarindra Institute for Psychiatric Treatment in Bangkok.
Hours after Juvenile Court hearing, the accused is moved on doctor’s advice while supervised by ministry officials, to a Bangkok psychiatric facility
It came just hours after the juvenile court in Bangkok rejected an application by lawyers acting on his behalf to the bench to this effect.
It was clarified on Friday that the move was ordered on doctor’s advice in a briefing from the Minister of Justice, Mr Thawee Sodson.
He told reporters that officials with the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection are involved with keeping the boy under observation at the hospital and are still trying to determine the reason behind the crime.
On Wednesday, the Central Juvenile and Family Court ordered the accused to be detained at the Juvenile Observation and Protection Centre.
It rejected the earlier request to transfer the boy to the psychiatric treatment institute.
Minister declines to comment further on mental health status of the accused teenager, citing medical confidentiality and the rights of the 14-year-old
Minister Thawee, also on Friday, declined to comment further on the exact nature of the boy’s mental health condition but emphasised to reporters that the court had refused him bail.
The minister also confirmed that the media in Thailand is prohibited from publishing photographs of the boy, which may lead to his identification in public.
There are, at this time, pictures of the accused circulating on international media showing the 14-year-old, with distinctive long hair and large spectacles, wearing a baseball cap with a large American flag on the front, accompanied by police officers in the immediate aftermath of his arrest on Tuesday evening.
At the same time, the Minister of Justice, on Friday, stressed that the accused would be subject to all proper legal enforcement amid growing public clamour for justice to be applied fairly and proportionately based on both the rights of the victims and the accused with intense public interest in the matter in the light of the suffering and anguish caused by his actions on Tuesday afternoon in addition to the damage done to the country’s image and economic prospects by the atrocity committed.
Father issues an emotional apology as minister talks about reviewing the laws on criminal responsibility of those under 15 years of age and procedures
On Friday, it was also reported that the boy’s father had issued an emotional apology to all concerned on behalf of the family.
He also travelled to Pak Kret in Nonthaburi on the outskirts of Bangkok to attend the funeral rites of the Myanmar worker at the Siam Paragon Centre who his son murdered.
Minister Thawee suggestedon Friday that the government would look closely at the law as it pertains to legal action and prosecution of people under the age of 15 years.
This would include a review of whether the law should be amended to deal with current conditions in society and situations which are now coming to the fore regularly.
Many young people under 15 years old, in recent years, have been involved in violent, indeed murderous, criminal activity, often against parents and family members in Thailand, with a rising number of cases involving patricide or matricide in the last decade, often linked with an addiction to online gaming as was reported on Tuesday concerning this attacker.
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The government is also committed to looking at the kingdom’s firearms laws.
Minister of Interior talks about new firearms legislation as Thailand ranks 13th in the world for the number of weapons with 15 for every 100 people
On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Anutin Charnvirakul announced a review of gun licensing laws, particularly the proliferation of BB guns, which, as Tuesday’s horrific incident has shown, may be capable of modification with lethal consequences in certain situations.
Thailand is currently ranked 13th in the world with up to 15 firearms per 100 people or 10.3 million guns, many of them held illegally, with official figures showing only 6.2 million guns legally registered in the kingdom.
The three people remanded to prison on Saturday are 45-year-old Suwanhong Jaithong and his 22-year-old son Mr Akkharawit Jaithong, both from Yala province, who were arrested on foot of arrest warrants issued on Wednesday by the Bangkok South Municipal Court.
The third accused is 31-year-old Mr Piyabut Phianpitak, a local supplier of ammunition and magazine rounds, who is also being charged with supplying firearms and ammunition to the killer.
45-year-old Brahmin teacher arrested and interrogated at length by police since Wednesday stoutly denies any link to the sale of firearms
At Saturday’s hearing, the police opposed bail to the three men, with it being reported that both Mr Akkharawit and Mr Piyabut had confessed to the crimes.
At the same time, Mr Suwanhong, a Brahmin or Hindu sacred text teacher, has tenuously denied any involvement in the affair despite his son’s admission of guilt.
Mr Suwanhong has been intensely interrogated by police in Bangkok since his arrest on Wednesday but has refused to accept any involvement in the affair.
It is believed that police linked the three to Tuesday’s outrage by examining the social media activity of the killer.
Investigators discovered that he had purchased the firearm through a Facebook page closed on Tuesday night after the shocking news from Bangkok emerged.
Police reveal three further arrest warrants have been issued for suspects linked to arms purchases by the teenage attacker who claimed to hear voices
On Saturday, as they were led to court, which remanded the three accused after refusing bail, the men declined to answer reporter’s questions.
Police Major General Noppasin Poolsawat of the Royal Thai Police pointed out that a team of investigators at Yannawa Police Station were handling this aspect of the investigation under the Firearms and Ammunition Act.
On this basis, three further warrants have been issued for three individuals named Mr Passakorn Thianthanawit, who it is understood delivered or sold bullets to the accused, Ms Suthida Panghom, the owner of a bank account which received payment for the ammunition shells from the accused killer and Mr Wutthipong Phetmanee, another account holder who received transfers linked to the purchase of firearms.
Police have briefed the media that the killer purchased ammunition supplies for ฿1,000 at a time while he paid ฿16,000 for the firearm he used in the killing, which he subsequently modified.
Killer used a financial scheme to fund the gun
Police are also examining how the 14-year-old, who is now claiming a mental condition including hearing voices and disembodied entities during and immediately after the killing spree in which 40 shots were fired, making human contact eleven times, used a student financial scheme to raise the money for the gun.
Police have also revealed that the multiple killer only surrendered on Tuesday to heavily armed police by raising his hands as the officers approached from outside a glass enclosure when his gun had run out of ammunition.
It is understood the 14-year-old, who continues not to be identified to the media or the public, was a regular attendee at a firearms shooting range operated by the Royal Thai Army, where members of the public are allowed to make use of the armed forces facility once accompanied by a member or where they have permission to do so.
Police sources suggest that the accused bluffed his way into the facility without being confronted during regular visits to fire off rounds with his modified Glock 9mm gun.
On Saturday, it was reported from the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the Police General Hospital in Bangkok that members of the family of the Chinese tourist, Ms Zhao Jinnan, who was callously murdered by the 14-year-old as she sought refuge and crouched on the ground inside the women’s restroom on the second floor of the Siam Paragon Centre on Tuesday, have made contact to reclaim her body.
Devastating reports released this week by the niece of the Chinese tourist mercilessly gunned down while in a collapsed state by the 14-year-old boy
On Thursday, her niece, Chloe Wan, published photos of one of Ms Zhao’s two 5-year-old daughters, who was with her when the attack commenced, with her clothes and white leather bag covered in blood.
She detailed her terror and the chilling story of the callous murder of her aunt on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo revealing that, at that point, the young girls had not been informed of their mother’s death.
Killer’s parents did not appear in court as Chinese niece recalls the terror of her aunt being executed
Ms Chloe had been inside one of the cubicles of the restroom when her aunt’s life was taken by the killer at point-blank range.
Officials at the hospital are awaiting contact from the Chinese embassy and the slain woman’s family to further progress the operation to repatriate the body with intense interest from the media.