October 12, 2022
BANGKOK – Crowds gathered around the normally sleepy town of Uthai Sawan to lay flowers and join queues of mourners paying their last respects to those slain in a three-hour gun and knife attack by a former Bangkok police sergeant, which marked the worst massacre in Thailand’s recent history.
Nineteen of the victims were sent off in a ceremony at Uthai Sawan’s Rat Samakee temple. Last Thursday’s attack saw 36 killed, including 22 children.
White coffins were carried by relatives and police officers one by one to the site of the cremation along a route lined with mourners. Family members lead the procession carrying portraits of the dead – a teacher and 18 children aged between two and five.
“Our intention is to send the children and their teacher off to heaven. The teacher will take the lead and the 18 children will follow her steps to heaven, according to our beliefs and the desires of their parents and everyone here to send them off,” said the temple’s abbot, Prakru Adisai Kijjanuwat, as the ceremony began.
The coffins were placed on pyres newly built from bricks and dressed with flowers and black and white decorative cloth.
Atop the caskets were pictures of those killed, some accompanied by stuffed toys.
Police identified the attacker as a former Bangkok police sergeant who was discharged in January after being in possession of methamphetamines.
His killing spree ended at his home when he turned his weapon on himself, after killing his partner and her child.