JOHOR BAHRU: Johor’s Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, shared a harrowing account of his experience during a shooting incident in Bangkok that took place on Tuesday (3 Oct).
Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim and his family found themselves in close proximity to a horrifying shooting incident at a luxurious mall in Bangkok.
He took to Facebook to describe the ordeal and express gratitude to Singapore for ensuring his family’s safety.
Crown Prince Tunku Ismail and family near mall during tragic shooting incident
His Highness and family were situated in a hotel lobby near Bangkok’s Siam Paragon shopping mall when chaos erupted.
“People were shouting and running into the hotel from the mall when the shooter started firing.
“It was loud and there was a lot of screaming,” said Tunku Ismail, who was sitting in the hotel lobby with his family at that time.
Promptly, Tunku Ismail, along with his family and security team, sought refuge in the hotel’s basement.
His Highness emphasized the need to remain vigilant and prepared for any situation, as they had no information other than the gunfire they heard.
In an effort to reassure his four young children, aged between two and seven, Tunku Ismail recalls assuring them that everything would be alright with their parents present.
“I still have (mental) images of me telling my kids, ‘Everything is going to be okay. Babah and Mama are here’ and telling them to get down while waiting for the car,” he added.
While waiting for their transportation, His Highness instructed his children to stay low.
Formed a “Human-barrier” to protect wife and kids
Simultaneously, Tunku Ismail and his security team positioned themselves as a human shield, determined to protect the family at all costs.
The paramount concern was to ensure the safe exit of his family and team.
During this intense moment, his wife, Che’ Puan Besar Khaleeda, comforted their frightened children by embracing them and keeping them close.
“I was shouting at the top of my voice to our security to get the car to the basement and get us to a secure location away from the place,” Tunku Ismail said.
Upon the arrival of their transport, Tunku Ismail initially directed the driver to take them to the Malaysian embassy.
However, he was informed that the Singapore embassy was nearer, prompting him to contact Singapore’s Consul-General, Jeevan Singh in Johor, for assistance.
Tunku Ismail and his family found refuge in the Singapore embassy, where they were safe from immediate danger.
He also reached out to Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, and Defence Minister, Mohamad Hasan, to inform them of the situation.
The Malaysian Ambassador to Thailand, Jojie Samuel, later joined them.
Thai authorities arrested a teenage gunman on Tuesday, suspected of killing two foreigners and injuring five others during a shooting spree at the luxury mall.
The incident sent shockwaves throughout the nine-story complex as hundreds sought cover, and others fled through multiple exits.
This unfortunate event occurred along Bangkok’s main shopping district while the country was implementing measures to stimulate its economic recovery.
Back in Johor
Tunku Ismail expressed his intent to return to Johor once it was safe to do so and subsequently shared three hours later that he had landed in Johor.
Reflecting on the experience, he conveyed that “this is the worst experience I’ve ever gone through. Protecting the lives of my children from a killer. Two people died. May God bless their innocent souls,” he said.
Though he expressed regret over missing the 2023 AFC Champions League football match between Johor Darul Ta’zim and BG Pathum United, Tunku Ismail expressed gratitude for the safety of his family and team.
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