41-year-old man’s brother Mick Bassal was killed in a shooting in Sydney at a signage firm in a suburb of the city in 2016. Police in Ko Samui said on Wednesday that they did not think the gun was purchased to commit a crime in Thailand nor had the arrested man a criminal background.
An Australian man was arrested on Wednesday as he tried to board a plane flight on Ko Samui with a handgun and 96 rounds of ammunition. He told police he had bought the gun at a local shop on the island. The tourist, on holidays with his family, said he purchased the firearm for self-protection while travelling. Mark Bassal was previously involved in a shooting in the Ingleburn area of Sydney in March 2016 when his brother was gunned down in a hail of gunfire over a business dispute.
An Australian tourist was arrested at the main airport in Ko Samui as he tried to board a flight to Suvarnabhumi Airport with a handgun and ammunition concealed in his baggage.
41-year-old Mark Bassal was taken into custody at 1 pm on Wednesday according to a briefing given on Thursday by Police Colonel Suparuek Phankosol, the Immigration Bureau Chief in Surat Thani.
X-rays alerted officials at Ko Samui Airport to the handgun and 96 rounds of ammunition in the tourist’s check-in baggage before his arrest by police
Police officers at the facility in the Bophut area of Ko Samui were alerted by X-rays of Mr Bassal’s luggage which showed the gun broken into pieces and ammunition spread across seven bags checked in by the Australian tourist and his family who are visiting Thailand on holiday.
Mr Bassal is accompanied on his trip to Thailand by his wife and three children.
After the discovery was verified by a search of the Australian national’s luggage he was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition in Thailand.
The gun and ammunition were also seized by authorities.
The Australian, when questioned by investigators, revealed that he had purchased the gun from a shop in the Bophut area of Ko Samui.
He said he purchased the weapon to use in self-defence while travelling.
Bassal said family were on their way home to Australia via Singapore yet had no onward flights booked
The Australian, believed to be from Sydney, New South Wales, also told police that the family planned to travel from Bangkok to Singapore and from there back to Australia but they had not yet booked their onward flights.
He has been transferred to Bophut Police Station where he is being held as legal proceedings are processed against him.
Police are understood to be satisfied that Mr Bassal did not purchase the firearm to commit an offence in Thailand nor did he appear to have a criminal background or be linked to transnational crime.
Mr Bassal and his family were involved in a high-profile shooting in the Ingleburn suburb of Sydney in March 2016, six and half years ago.
Arrested man was injured in March 2016 when his older brother was gunned down in the Ingleburn suburb of Sydney in a business dispute over signage
The then 34-year-old Bassal was wounded when he entered a signage business on Monday 9th March 2016 in a bid to settle a dispute over a $40,000 refund demanded by his brother from the business.
They were attacked by then 33-year-old Wayne Williams with a hail of gunfire from an SKS Assault rifle which left Mr Bassal’s old brother Michael or Mick Bassal dead and his other brother Terry Bassal also injured.
The assailant then went upstairs and shot himself.
The refund was linked to a sign ordered by Mick Bassal for his construction business and the meeting had been called to address the dispute.
‘That meeting was organised after a number of requests as to the status of the signage, and then for a return of money already paid,’ family lawyer Richard Mitry told the press at the time. ‘We understand that, as they arrived at the premises, they were immediately shot at and Michael Bassal died almost instantaneously.’
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About the Author
Carla Boonkong & Pranee O’ Connor
Carla Boonkong is a magazine writer who writes extensively about woman’s issues in Thailand. One of her key subjects is the story of Thailand’s growing influence in the world and the role played by Thai women in the process. She is now a staff writer with Thai Examiner.com in Bangkok. Son Nguyen is an international writer and news commentator specialising in Thai news and current affairs. He commenced working with the Thai Examiner News Desk in May 2018.