This has to be the most confusing story that has come out of Thailand in recent days. The headline in the Bangkok Post today was “Senator kills aide with Uzi in eatery”. In this story, the Bangkok Post says: “While waiting for their meal, Mr Boonsong took out an Uzi 9mm sub-machine gun. He told police the gun accidentally discharged and his secretary was shot in the stomach.” The newspaper edition only had room for a small picture of the senator. However, their website has this picture of a sub-machine gun, and also of some AR-10 rifle kits, which the police discovered upon investigating Mr. Boonsong’s house.
Naturally, a story like this has legs and it wasn’t long before “sub-machine gun” headlines were going around the world. This one is by the Daily Mail in the UK: “Thai senator ‘accidentally shoots cousin dead with Uzi machine gun during family meal’. Notice how we have gone from secretary to cousin. In fact The Nation newspaper is saying the victim was his wife. Could be all three I guess. Anyway, everyone is of course asking, how can anyone accidentally kill someone with a sub-machine gun while sitting at the table? As if to emphasize this point, all of these stories are illustrated with a Uzi sub-machine like this one from the BBC.
What is embarrassing for Thailand, and more importantly for the Bangkok Post, is that the weapon used was not a sub-machine gun. In fact it was this Jericho 941 pistol. I took this screen grab from the Channel 3 news this morning. I think the confusion arose because the Jericho 941 was developed in Israel and has been called a Uzi Eagle. The editor at the Bangkok Post must have thought it was the stereotypical sub-machine gun and decided to use a stock image. But, we mustn’t forget that the main story here is that due to his parliamentary immunity, it is unlikely that the senator will be arrested any time soon.