Thailand: mourning after the killing in a crib, the king expected on site
Sylvie Claire / October 7, 2022
Incomprehensible”: inconsolable, the families mourned Friday their disappeared, the day after the massacre which left 37 dead, mainly children of a nursery, in a rural province of northern Thailand where King Maha Vajiralongkorn goes in the evening.
King Rama X, considered a quasi-divinity in the country, is expected to visit a hospital in Nong Bua Lamphu to help the injured, shortly after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha.
Silence enveloped the area around the crèche where one of the worst killings in the kingdom took place, interrupted at times by the sobbing of families and the waving of officials in white suits and black armbands.
A red carpet was rolled out in the morning to allow them to mourn and lay flowers. It was then withdrawn, not without having provoked angry reactions from Internet users in Thailand, in front of this inappropriate ceremony on a crime scene.
Near the entrance, where white roses remind us of the tragedy, a grieving mother clutches the blanket of her missing child, and holds in her hand her half-filled bottle of milk.
Some of the children were only 2 years old, like little Kamram, whose mother Panita, 19, is inconsolable. “It’s incomprehensible” she breathes, her 11-month-old daughter in her arms.
“I was very shocked and scared. I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t think it would be my two grandsons,” says Buarai Tanontong, clinging to her daughter’s shoulder.
I still can’t accept what happened. Assailant, what is your heart made of?” wrote Seksan Srirach, the husband of a teacher, pregnant with their child, killed at the crèche, in a Facebook post.
Police officers were also interviewing the bereaved family and witnesses near the crèche.
A former policeman armed with a 9mm pistol and a long knife killed 37 people on Thursday, including 24 children — 21 boys and three girls — according to a new police count, in a deadly rampage that began at a day care center in Na Klang district around 12:30 p.m.
He then drove off, and tried to run down passers-by, until he reached his home, “not far” from the nursery, according to the police.
He then killed his wife and their son, before killing himself, in the early afternoon, before 3:00 pm, about two hours after the beginning of the killing.
During the night, the small white and purple coffins were transported to the morgue of a hospital in Udon Thani, in the neighboring province.
After this “horrible” massacre, Prayut Chan-O-Cha ordered an investigation and asked the police chief “to speed up the investigations ».
Initial evidence paints a picture of an assailant, 34, plagued by drug addiction problems that cost him his job with the police last June.
“He was expected to go on trial Friday over his drug problem,” Damrongsak Kittiprapat, the national police chief, said Thursday.
Everyone knew the shooter. He was a nice guy but later we all knew he was on meth,” said Kamjad Pra-intr, a resident who came to support the families.
This is not the first time Thailand has been plagued by a mass shooting of this magnitude. In February 2020, a shooting perpetrated by an army officer killed 29 people, including in a shopping mall in Nakhon Ratchasima (east).
The gunman, a 31-year-old chief warrant officer, was shot dead by the police after his 17-hour killing spree. He had acted after an argument with a superior.
The Na Klang tragedy is a reminder of the extent of the kingdom’s drug problems, where wholesale and retail prices have fallen to historically low levels due to abundant supply, according to data released in 2021 by the UN.
The rural province of Nong Bua Lamphu is located near the “golden triangle” on the borders of Burma and Laos, which has been considered the focal point of drug production in the region for decades.