October 7, 2022
BANGKOK – The former policeman allegedly responsible for Thursday’s massacre in Nong Bua Lamphu province in Northeast Thailand had a long history of drug abuse since his school days, his records show.
Panya Khamrab, 34, reportedly went on a shooting rampage at a children’s development centre in the province’s Na Wang district, leaving 36 people dead and 12 others injured, eight of whom are in a serious condition.
Twenty-four young children were among the dead, in addition to 12 adults.
Panya was dismissed from the police force in January after he was arrested in possession of “yaa baa” methamphetamine pills. Earlier, he had been reprimanded by his supervisors for repeated abuse of the illicit drug.
He admitted to having abused “yaa baa” for a long time and sometimes had “hundreds of pills” in his possession.
He joined the Royal Thai Police in May 2012 and was moved to the Na Wang Police Station in Nong Bua Lamphu province in June 2019. He worked there until his dismissal from the police force.
Former colleagues blamed his drug abuse for his frequent mood swings, which led to him being shunned in the work place. He often disobeyed his supervisors, some ex-colleagues said.
Once Panya drew his pistol to show his displeasure at a bank manager who complained after he was found sleeping in a police car parked outside the bank instead of guarding officials stocking banknotes in ATMs.
A year ago, he reportedly began quarrelling with his wife and was reportedly involved in a relationship with a karaoke worker named Ying, whose former boyfriend was a suspected drug dealer.
His neighbours at the police housing complained about Panya’s noisy behaviour while partying at night. In July last year, he verbally and physically attacked a neighbour who confronted him about the noise. The incident led to a reprimand for Panya and he was placed on parole.
Panya once confessed to his superintendent at the police station that he began abusing drugs while studying at a secondary school. He reportedly promised his boss not to get involved with drugs again but failed to keep his word.