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Singaporean and son survive Thai mall attack that killed at least 29

This article is more than 12 months old

They were trapped in the lower ground level of Terminal 21 mall, where a soldier killed at least 29 people

He was close enough to smell the gunpowder as round after round was discharged.

Singaporean Tay Yong Hwee could hear crazed Thai soldier Jakrapanth Thomma yelling at his victims and the gunshots that killed them.

Mr Tay and his son, 11, were trapped in the lower ground level of Terminal 21 mall when Jakrapanth began his rampage that killed at least 29 people in Nakhon Ratchasima city, better known as Korat.

His account of the horrific events was circulated by a fellow church member on Facebook on Sunday.

The post has since been removed. Mr Tay declined to comment when contacted by The Straits Times.

In the Facebook post, Mr Tay said he and his son took cover in what seemed like a storage room with a family of three, including a three-year-old child.

Mr Tay said he did not feel safe in the room and decided to leave but the family wanted to stay behind.

Mr Tay, his son and a few others who had joined them moved to a room deeper inside. It is fortunate they did, as Mr Tay thinks the killer found the family that stayed behind and they were all shot to death.

"I smelled the discharge. I used to smell it when I was a soldier in the Singapore army," he said.

Early Sunday morning, nine hours after his ordeal started, Mr Tay and his son and the others with them were rescued by Thai security forces. He was reunited with his Thai wife and elder son.

Jakrapanth was shot dead about six hours later.

Grieving relatives of those who were not so lucky held Buddhist prayer ceremonies yesterday as many questioned how and why the unprecedented shooting spree happened, AFP reported.

Holding portraits of their relatives and dabbing away tears, families of the victims arrived at a city morgue to carry home coffins bearing their dead.


The killer started his rampage on Saturday afternoon with weapons stolen from a barracks' arsenal, where he gunned down Mr Mehta Lertsiri, 22, who was guarding the depot, AFP reported.

"I don't know what to do next," Mr Mehta's grief-stricken grandfather, Mr Udom Prapotsang, said outside of the morgue, waiting to claim his body.

"His four-year-old son keeps asking why he can't call his father."

There were many wondering why the gunman went on a killing spree over an apparent private debt to a senior officer and how he was able to steal weapons, including an M60 machine gun.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha was hammered on social media for his visit to the city on Sunday where he posed for selfies, high-fived a crowd and smiled.