Source: Khaosod English
Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin attended the launch event of “SCBX NEXT TECH: The Future Global Tech Community for Young Generations” at Siam Paragon Department Stores on the morning of October 4, as scheduled. He stressed the importance of moving forward and doing everything possible to overcome such challenges after a 14-year-old opened fire at the mall, killing two people and injuring five others, including foreign nationals from China, Myanmar and Laos.
He expressed his deepest regret for the incident that occurred Tuesday night, noting that the government would want to extend its condolences to the families of the injured and deceased.
“The incident was an uncontrollable force majeure event. I believe Siam Paragon Shopping Centre and government officials did everything possible to ensure safety. May this event be the last. The government will fully reinforce preventive measures,” he said.
Before attending the event, the Prime Minister called Lao People’s Democratic Republic Ambassador to Thailand Khampan Aunlawan to offer his condolences. He also informed Laos that His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen would take care of the medical treatment of all injured victims.
In addition, the Prime Minister also coordinated phone calls with the Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to Thailand to offer condolences, especially for the Myanmar worker who was one of the two fatalities. Condolences were also sent to the Chinese ambassador as of Tuesday evening.
At this time, Panpree Phitthanukorn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and relevant departments have convened a meeting to develop measures to improve security in public areas and tourist attractions. These include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and the National Police.
In addition to official government statements expressing condolences to the families of the victims and the injured, the State Department established a Situation Command Center to communicate with and assist the affected families.
Sudawan Wangsuphakitkoson, Minister of Tourism and Sports, said that the Thai government would provide full support and assistance to Chinese tourists who were victims of the incident and had traveled to Thailand under a visa waiver program.
The day before the incident Sudawan just revealed that the statistics of foreign tourists accumulated in the first 9 months, the latest data from 1 Jan. – 1 Oct. 2023, numbered 20,051,535 people, an increase of 250% compared to the same period of the year. Thailand generated 839,409 million baht in income from foreign tourist spending.
During September 25 – October 1, was the first week of enforcing the Visa Exemption or Visa-Free measure for Chinese and Kazakhstan tourists. This makes Chinese tourists the market that entered Thailand the most last week with 106,472 people, an increase of 44,744 people or an increase of 72.49% compared to the previous week (Sep. 18 – 24).
Thapanee Kiatphaibool, the director general of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said that TAT will evaluate the situation regarding Chinese tourist numbers in the near future. However, they will first take three measures. These include strengthening security measures in all areas, providing psychological care and support to those affected, both Thai and foreign nationals.
To boost confidence among both Thai residents and tourists, TAT has established a three-level communication framework for the short, medium, and long terms.