Thailand will close legal loopholes relating to firearm classification and online sales in its gun control efforts, its police chief said on Wednesday, a day after a teenager was arrested following a deadly shooting at a mall that left two people dead.
The gun used by the alleged 14-year-old shooter was modified and originally designed to fire blank rounds, meaning it wasn’t classified as a lethal weapon, and it was likely purchased online, Torsak Sukvimol said in a television interview.
Authorities were preparing to charge the teenage boy with premeditated murder on Wednesday.
There are more than 10,000 such legally imported guns in circulation in Thailand, and police will work with other government agencies to reclassify them as deadly firearms to block their import, Torsak said
“We want to make sure these guns are a controlled firearm because their modification makes them a deadly weapon,” he told Thailand’s Channel 3 television channel.
Krisanaphong Poothakool, a criminologist at Rangsit University, said modifying a blank gun is illegal but perpetrators could easily learn how to make modifications and there were criminal services offering this.
A Reuters search of e-commerce platforms Lazada and Shopee, among the most popular in Southeast Asia, on Wednesday showed several types of blank guns for sale at prices starting at around 5,000 baht ($135). Shopee, owned by Singapore’s Sea Ltd (SE.N) and Alibaba-owned Lazada did not immediately respond to questions from Reuters.