BANGKOK: The mass shooting at the Terminal 21 mall in Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima (or Korat) over the weekend is unprecedented in Thailand. It raises serious questions about the security of arms in the Royal Thai Armed Forces. It also sheds light on corruption in the armed forces and on Thailand’s gun culture in general. The assailant killed at least 29, including civilians, soldiers and police responders and wounded scores more with a staggering amount of firepower he was able to single-handedly seize from a military armoury. This included at least a pistol, two assault rifles, an M60 machine gun, upwards of a thousand rounds of ammunition, and possibly more. The assailant – a sergeant major in the Royal Thai Army – may have used his rank and position to gain easier access to this weaponry. But he also used force, overpowering an unknown number of soldiers in the process of gathering assault weapons and ammunition. The fact that only one individual was able to violently … [Read more...] about Commentary: The troubling trends underlying Thailand’s mass shooting
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BANGKOK: When Sunantha Ratchawat was hit, her body went numb. It was dark inside the bar, popular with young Thais drinking and dancing and on this night, it was crowded. Music - American hip hop - was blasting through the venue’s speakers. Sunantha, who goes by the name of Pam, was in her early 20s and on a casual night out in 2006 with friends on Khao San Road, a rowdy nightlife district in Bangkok. It was a normal place for her to hang out, and when an altercation broke out near her inside the bar, she initially did not pay much attention. But when gunfire ripped through the bar, her life changed. “I heard that someone shot a gun,” Pam said. “My friend was so scared and we tried to sit down and make ourselves as safe as much as we could. “But unfortunately, the one that was shot and ran away from the bad guy came to us and fell down on us and the bad guy tried to kill him. But it was me and my friend that were shot.” “The second I got shot, I didn’t know myself … [Read more...] about Gun violence in Thailand: A problem that can’t be solved?
BANGKOK: Thailand arguably has a gun problem, but sensational headlines about the country being a regional, even global, leader of gun violence are misleading and dubious. Though it’s difficult to know the extent of the issue for sure, both official and independent data trends indicate that, rates of armed violence are falling in the Southeast Asian country and are not the highest in the region as many have claimed, even if they remain significant. But, many of Thailand’s gun homicides are clearly preventable, and a system that allows for the ready availability of firearms must be rethought. WHY MANY THAIS OWN GUNS Thailand is home to a vibrant gun culture and trade. Bangkok has a neighbourhood entirely devoted to selling firearms and their accessories, where tens of shops offer top-of-the-line and often eccentrically-styled handguns, shotguns and rifles. According to the Ministry of Interior, there are more than 6 million registered firearms in Thailand. Geneva-based … [Read more...] about Commentary: Uncovering the dangerous subculture behind gun violence in Thailand
WASHINGTON: Democrat Joe Biden edged ever closer Saturday (Nov 7) to a victory over President Donald Trump as the long, exacting work of counting votes extended into a fourth day after the election. The delay in producing a verdict could be attributed to high turnout, a massive number of mail-in ballots and slim margins between the candidates. Biden held leads in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia, putting him in a stronger position to capture the 270 Electoral College votes needed to take the White House. There was intense focus on Pennsylvania, where Biden led Trump by more than 28,000 votes, and Nevada, where Biden was up by about 22,000. The prolonged wait added to the anxiety of a nation facing historic challenges, including the surging coronavirus pandemic and deep political polarisation. When Biden addressed the nation Friday night near his home in Wilmington, Delaware, he acknowledged the sluggish pace of the count “can be numbing.” But he added: “Never forget the … [Read more...] about Biden edges closer to win as Pennsylvania focus intensifies, Trump repeats allegations of election fraud
WASHINGTON: Democrat Joe Biden said on Friday (Nov 6) that he was going to win the US presidency as his lead grew over President Donald Trump in battleground states, although television networks held off from declaring him the victor as officials continued to count votes. "The numbers tell us ... it's a clear and convincing story: We're going to win this race," Biden said, adding that he and his running mate Kamala Harris were already meeting with experts as they prepared for the White House. Biden's speech was originally planned as a victory celebration, but he changed his approach in the absence of an official call from television networks and other election forecasters. Americans have had to wait longer than in any presidential election since 2000 to learn the winner. With thousands of votes still to count, it was not clear when the bitter contest would conclude. The verdict delay can be attributed to high turnout, a massive number of mail-in ballots - prompted by the … [Read more...] about ‘We’re going to win this race’: Biden predicts victory as his lead over Trump grows