Thai mall shooting victim’s mother bids emotional farewell at cremation

NONTHABURI, Thailand (Reuters) – Among the hundreds mourning Moe Myint on Sunday was the mother of the Burmese victim of last week’s shooting rampage at a Bangkok mall, seeming dazed at the cremation ceremony on the outskirts of the Thai capital.

Tears streaking her face, Khin Win was revived with smelling salts as she sat at the Buddhist ceremony. People rubbed her hands for comfort as she bade farewell to her 31-year-old daughter.

Moe Myint was one of two killed when a 14-year-old boy went on a shooting spree at the luxury Siam Paragon shopping centre in Bangkok’s bustling commercial area on Tuesday. Five were wounded and hundreds of panicked shoppers raced to the exits as the gunshots rang out.

The alleged shooter, who police said had suffered a psychological breakdown, was charged with premeditated murder, illegal possession of a firearm and other charges.

Khin Win flew in from Myanmar for the Burmese-style cremation in Nonthaburi province north of Bangkok, where her daughter’s remains were brought in a procession, led by a saffron-robed monk, into the temple in a white coffin with gold trim.

Mourners reached into the casket and touched the green-shrouded body before sandalwood flowers were burned under it and it was placed in the incinerator.

The mother stared ahead before clasping her hands to pray.

Moe Myint’s employer, Aksorn Chantarojvanich, who attended the funeral, said she would provide the family 10,000 baht ($270) a month, matching the remittances Moe Myint had sent home.

Thai Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong vowed at the ceremony, “We will ensure fair processes, provide support to the victims, and handle the affairs of the deceased’s family with utmost care.”

The father of the teenage suspect, in a letter released by the government on Friday, said his family would fully cooperate with the authorities.

“We offer our deepest apologies to the victims,” the father wrote. “My family and I would like to humbly ask for forgiveness and extend our profound apologies.”

($1 = 36.8900 baht)

(Reporting by Napat Weshasartar and Artorn Pookasook; Writing by Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by William Mallard)

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