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Boy shot dead in Thai gang attack

A nine-year-old boy has been shot dead as he got off a bus in Bangkok, and unknowingly stepped into the crossfire of rival high school gangs, according to police in Thailand.

Fighting often occurs in Thailand between rival schools and can spill into public places such as on buses and in shopping centres frequented by students.

Jatuporn Ponpaka was on his way to school alone on a public bus on the eastern outskirts of the city. He was getting off at his stop when about 20 students from the Bangkapi School of Technology emerged from an alley and fired three shots at the bus, according to lieutenant colonel Prasit Taprasitjit from Min Buri police station.

The boy was shot in the head and chest and was rushed to hospital. He died an hour later, said Rattikarn Jaroenmon, an emergency room official at Kasemrad Hospital.

The shots were apparently intended for a half-dozen other students on the bus from the Bangkok School of Industrial Technology, Lt Col Prasit said.

According to witnesses, the same gang of students threw beer bottles and bricks at the next bus as well.

The lieutenant said: "These two schools are located on the same road and are notorious for having problems and fights. We are still trying to identify the culprits."

Thai PBS television station said police searching the schools found several knives and other items which could be used as weapons.

Inter-school violence is a chronic problem in Bangkok and its outskirts, where most schools are located.

In July, the Bangkok metropolitan police bureau met officials from 28 education institutes in risky areas to discuss violence prevention.

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