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8 Killed in Mass Shooting in Thailand | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Thailand police in the capital Bangkok. (Reuters)

Eight people shot dead in a house in Thailand after gunmen held them hostage, police said on Tuesday.

The victims include at least one child, added the police of the incident in a country where although guns are common, such mass shootings are rare.

The attack took place in the southern province of Krabi, which is a popular beach destination, after the gunmen stormed the house late on Monday and held the inhabitants hostage before shooting them, police said.

Police say a gang of six or seven men, dressed in camouflage outfits, stormed a house in the southern province around 4:00 pm (0900 GMT) on Monday.

They took ten people hostage and waited for the owner of the property to return.

“Around 8pm the owner arrived, all of them (the victims) were handcuffed and blindfolded until midnight when gunmen opened fire,” Chaiwut Buathong, chief of Ao Luek district, told AFP.

Six died at the scene, two others died in hospital, Chaiwut said, adding three of the victims were girls aged under 15.

Three others were taken to hospital with one in critical condition.

“They were found this morning. Eight people died, three were injured. They were all found at the house,” Manat In-prom, an officer at the Ao Luk police station in the province, told Reuters.

“We believe there were five or six criminals.”

Deputy national police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen told reporters the victims came from a local Muslim family and that the gunmen “claimed to be officials who wanted to check on illegal activity”.

Thailand has a high rate of gun ownership and many people carry guns for their self-protection.

According to the Interior Ministry, there are 6.1 million registered firearms in the country of 67 million people. But there are also many unregistered guns in circulation.

According to 2016 data from the University of Washington, Thailand had the highest reported rate of gun-related deaths out of 10 countries in Asia, about 50 percent higher than the Philippines, which came second on the list.