return icon

Thailand shooting: Survivors recall ordeal of gun rampage

Shoppers put up barricades as a Thai soldier aimed at victims' heads on a 16-hour rampage.

Buddhist monks chant and pray at a vigil for the victims in Nakhon Ratchasima



Terrified residents of the Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima have been reliving their ordeal after a gunman roamed around a shopping centre on a shooting spree that killed 29 people.

Some barricaded themselves in toilets or hid under tables, frantically searching for information on mobiles.

Jakraphanth Thomma began his rampage on Saturday afternoon, but it only ended with his death 16 hours later.

A vigil for victims has been held on Sunday, with monks chanting prayers.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the 32-year-old soldier, who had posted images during his attack on social media, appeared to have been motivated by a land dispute.

Another 57 people were injured in the incident, an "unprecedented number in Thailand", the PM said.

What have the survivors been saying?

Jakraphanth began his attack at about 15:30 local time on Saturday (08:30 GMT) at a military camp, but it was his arrival at the Terminal 21 shopping complex that led to an indiscriminate shooting spree.

Many of the victims were killed as he arrived, some in their cars, others outside the complex. Graphic images appeared on social media.

Inside Terminal 21, a seven-floor complex designed on an airport theme, terrified shoppers were unsure whether to flee or hide.

Nattaya Nganiem was leaving the complex by car when she heard gunfire and saw one woman "run out from the mall hysterically". She saw a motorcyclist dump his motorcycle and run.

One who saw the gunman, Diaw, told Amarin TV the attacker "was shooting everywhere and his shots were very precise". He aimed at the heads of victims, Diaw said, adding that one of his colleagues was killed.

Up on the fourth floor, Chanathip Somsakul, 33, barricaded himself into the women's toilets with dozens of others, using cubicle doors to wedge the entrance shut.

They all scoured mobile devices to get information. But he said there was so much information, no-one knew what to believe.

"Everyone was terrified. A friend who works at the mall was talking to a guy in the CCTV control room... he gave us updates on the location of the gunman," he told AFP news agency.

When police arrived at about 21:00, they left in an orderly fashion, but started running when shots rang out.

Charlie Crowson, a teacher of English who lives in Nakhon Ratchasima, told the BBC there were "bodies on the streets" of the normally peaceful city.

He said one of his girlfriend's former students was among those killed in the attack. Jakraphanth was eventually shot dead by the security forces.

At the city morgue on Sunday, Natthawut Karnchanamethee was mourning the loss of his 13-year-old son, Ratchanon Karnchanamethee.

"He's my only son. I allowed him to do anything he wanted to. I never set expectations for him. I only wanted him to be a good person," Mr Natthawut said.

At the vigil on Sunday, 13-year-old Lapasrada Khumpeepong said she and her mother had been cornered in a bathroom at the complex for five hours.

She wrote on a condolence board: "Thank you to those who sacrificed themselves to keep others alive. Without you, we would not be here today."

What have the authorities said about the attack?

Mr Prayuth travelled to Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat, to meet wounded survivors.

The PM said he believed the gunman was involved in a "personal conflict... over a house deal" that involved a relative of his commanding officer, both of whom Jakraphanth shot dead at the military base at the start of his rampage.

Mr Prayuth said: "I hope this is the only one and the last incident, and that it never happens again. No-one wants this to happen. It could be because of this person's mental health in this particular moment."

Forensic experts continue to work at the shopping complex.

Jakraphanth served at Suatham Phithak military camp, about 250km (155 miles) from the capital, Bangkok.

Army sources said he was a sharpshooter and had taken courses on attacks, including the planning of ambushes.

He used social media heavily, including posting pictures of himself with weapons.

Jakraphanth killed another soldier as he stole a military vehicle and weapons - two rifles, one M60 machine gun and 770 rounds of ammunition - from the base.

A Facebook post before the attack read: "Rich from cheating. Taking advantage of other people. Do they think they can spend the money in hell?"

During the attack - and before his Facebook account was taken down - he wrote: "Death is inevitable for everyone." BBC


President to pay State visit to RoK next week

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his spouse will pay a state visit to the Republic of Korea from December 4-6.

Fansipan among five top destinations for mountain trekking at year-end

Renowned tourism website Women's Weekly of Singapore has named Fansipan among the leading five destinations to visit for mountain trekking at the end of the year, with the website noting the Vietnamese mountain’s impressive views.

Dortmund chiefs predict bright future for VN football

Although this was only a friendly game with many of the German stars absent from the starting eleven due to the Qatar World Cup, the victory gave the Bundesliga team food for thought about Vietnamese players.

International designers dazzle fashion fans in Hanoi

International designers left a deep impression on fans of fashion in Hanoi with hundreds of fascinating designs presented at the Aquafina VN International Fashion Week (AVIFW) Fall/Winter 2022.

Monthly Government meeting focuses on year-end key tasks

The Government has established working groups on liquidity and currency, the real estate market and corporate bonds led by deputy prime ministers to stabilise these markets.

Vietnam to reduce environmental impact of textile-garment industry by 2030

The Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) has set a goal of helping Vietnam's textile and garment industry be more environmentally friendly by 2030.

Property brokers no longer manipulate prices as buyers become more cautious

As buyers have become more aware and careful about shady practices, real estate brokers have not been able to sell properties at prices much higher than their real value.

Hanoi to turn middle alluvium ground into park

One more park has been designed for Hanoians. However, it is still unclear when the project will appear, as a number of other projects are still on paper or pending.

Asian investors eye more M&A opportunities in Vietnam

Investors from Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), and Singapore are looking for more potential merger and acquisition (M&A) opportunities in Vietnam, pinning high hopes on the long-term growth prospects of the market.

Vietnam's fishery exports exceed 10 billion USD in 11 months

Fishery exports reeled in 10.14 billion USD as of November this year, up 27% annually, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

HCM City want foreign doctors to be fluent in Vietnamese

The HCM City Department of Health has just proposed that foreign doctors should be fluent in Vietnamese if they want to work in the country.

Use of toxic e-cigarettes among students on the rise

After a trial smoke, T lost consciousness, was foaming at the mouth, and his limbs were curled up. Two days later, T regained consciousness at the hospital, but was still in the status of extreme fear.

Vietnam spends US$7.74 billion importing petroleum products

Vietnam imported over 7.5 million tonnes of oil and petrol worth around US$7.74 billion as of mid-November, up 24.1% in volume and 122% in value year on year, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

Vietnam won’t sacrifice the environment for economic growth: Prime Minister

Vietnam takes people as the goal in development. People will enjoy the fruits of a green economy and the government will not sacrifice the environment to pursue economic growth.

Vietnam’s bond market contracts amid monetary tightening

After strong growth in the previous quarter, Vietnam’s currency bond market contracted 0.2% due to a decline in the Government bond market and slower growth in corporate bonds.