10.3m guns in Thailand, says survey
Authorities will crack down on online sales of guns, national police chief Torsak Sukvimol said on Wednesday, a day after a shooting at a Bangkok shopping mall left two people dead.
The gun used by the 14-year-old shooter at Siam Paragon was modified and originally designed to fire blanks, and it was likely bought online, Pol Gen Torsak said.
There are more than 10,000 such legally imported guns in Thailand, and police will work with other government agencies to reclassify them as deadly firearms to block their import, Pol Gen Torsak said
The gun used at Paragon was reportedly modified with help from a video on YouTube.
A Reuters search of Lazada and Shopee, the top e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia, on Wednesday showed several types of blank guns for sale at prices starting around 5,000 baht.
Shopee and Lazada did not immediately respond to questions from Reuters.
Pol Gen Torsak said the force would form a team to tackle the illegal sale of firearms on the internet.
Existing laws on the possession of illegal firearms carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to 20,000 baht.
Laws have tightened after mass shootings in recent years in Thailand, including a requirement for a medical evaluation for those who want to buy a gun or renew their gun licence.
Following Tuesday’s tragedy, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin ordered the police to strictly enforce laws related to online weapons purchase.
Around 10.3 million guns — only 6.2 million of them registered — were owned by Thais, putting the country in 13th place globally for small gun possession, according to the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey in 2017.
The survey estimated that Thai people possessed the most guns in Southeast Asia, with an average of 15 firearms per 100 population.
The United States topped the table with 393.3 million guns, followed by India and China.
Data from the World Population Review in 2022 indicated Thailand was ranked 15th globally in gun deaths with 2,804 people killed, for a rate of 3.91 people per 100,000 population.
Learn from listening
- blank: a gun cartridge that explodes when the gun is fired, but contains no bullet - กระสุนเปล่า,กระสุนหลอก
- e-commerce (noun): business that is conducted on the Internet - อีคอมเมิร์ซ (การพาณิชย์อิเล็กทรอนิกส์)
- evaluation: the process of thinking carefully about something before making a judgment about its value, importance, or quality - การประเมินผล
- firearms: guns - อาวุธปืน
- import: to buy or bring in products from another country - นำเข้า
- licence: an official document that gives someone permission to do or use something - ใบอนุญาต
- modified (verb): changed slightly, especially in order to improve it or use it in different way - ดัดแปลง; ถูกดัดแปลง
- possession: having or owning something - การครอบครอง
- registered (adj): to be on an official list; to be on an official list of names of people who are allowed to do something, e.g., vote, study, sell something, stay in a hotel etc - ซึ่งลงทะเบียนไว้
- respond: to say or do something as a reaction to something that has been said or done - ตอบสนอง, ตอบรับ
- sentence : a punishment given by a court of law - การตัดสินลงโทษ
- survey: the act of asking for and recording information - การสำรวจ, การหาข้อมูล
- tighten (verb): to make something tighter, more fixed and secure or stricter - ทำให้แน่น, ทำให้เข้มงวดยิ่งขึ้น, ทำให้แน่นหรือตึงขึ้น, ผูกให้แน่น,
- tragedy: a very sad event that causes people to suffer or die - โศกนาฏกรรม