Four attempt gun shop robbery with BB guns
Owner shoots them with real gun
A botched robbery by four Mongolian men at a Bangkok gun shop yesterday left one of the intruders dead after a dramatic daytime shoot-out in the city's Chinatown district, police said.
The men, who police said held Chinese passports, stormed the store with BB guns in an effort to steal real firearms. BB guns are air guns that usually shoot pellets.
But the men were thwarted after the owner of the store opened fire on the robbers.
Armed police quickly joined in the shooting and three of the raiders were wounded, with one dying later in hospital.
Officers are still hunting for the leader of the network whom they said had entered Thailand several times.
National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda told reporters at the scene: "They planned the operation well... surveying the shop one day ahead of the robbery.
"Their purpose was to steal guns, but we don't know what they planned to use the guns for."
The shop, Inter Arms, is on a street with trendy bars and restaurants in the Chinatown neighbourhood.
Gun ownership is widespread in Thailand and watchdog groups say the kingdom has one of the highest gun murder rates in Asia.
The Thai government does not provide a specific breakdown for annual gun murders.
However, the website GunPolicy.org, a database of gun statistics run by the University of Sydney, estimates 3.48 murders per 100,000 people in Thailand - a figure on a par with the United States.
There are 6.1 million registered firearms in Thailand, a country with 67 million people, according to the Interior Ministry.
But GunPolicy.org puts the number at closer to 10 million after accounting for weapons bought in the booming black market.