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BANGKOK (Reuters) - Gunmen shot dead eight people, including at least one child, in a house in Thailand after holding them hostage, police said on Tuesday, a rare incident in a country where although guns are common, such mass shootings are rare.

The eight were killed in the southern province of Krabi, which is a popular beach destination, after the gunmen stormed the house late on Monday and held the inhabitants hostage before shooting them, police said.

Three people were wounded.

Police said they believed the motive was some kind of personal dispute.

"They were found this morning. Eight people died, three were injured. They were all found at the house," Manat In-prom, an officer at the Ao Luk police station in the province, told Reuters.

"We believe there were five or six criminals."

Thailand has a high rate of gun ownership and many people carry guns for their self-protection but such mass shootings are very rare.

According to the Interior Ministry, there are 6.1 million registered firearms in the country of 67 million people. But there are also many unregistered guns in circulation.

According to 2016 data from the University of Washington, Thailand had the highest reported rate of gun-related deaths out of 10 countries in Asia, about 50 percent higher than the Philippines, which came second on the list.

(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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