In wake of nursery killings, Thailand faces reckoning over drugs, guns and mental health

In Uthai Sawan, in north-eastern Thailand, families have said a final goodbye to the victims of the mass killing that horrified the country. The attacker, a former police officer, opened fire and stabbed children at a nursery before returning home to kill his girlfriend, her son and take his own life. He killed 36 people, mostly children.

It was the second mass killing to occur in just a few years in Thailand, where such events have been rare, and the country has been searching for answers over how such a tragedy could have been prevented.

The attacker, Panya Khamrab, had been fired from the police for methamphetamine use, however an autopsy showed he had not taken any drugs in the 72 hours prior to the attack.

The government has promised a crackdown on drugs and gun ownership. Commentators have also pointed to gaps in mental health services, especially within the police, and say deeper problems of corruption and patronage must be reformed. While the recent attack was by a former…

Continue Reading →

This article was written by Rebecca Ratcliffe, south-east Asia correspondent, and Navaon Siradapuvadol and originally published on