Assassination attempt on Sondhi Limthongkul

17 04 2009

Bangkok Post reports an assassination attempt on Sondhi Limthongkul. He is reported slightly injured. Sondhi is the recognized leader of the PAD/yellow shirts, self-proclaimed royalist and owner of ASTV Manager.

Update: More stories are now available on this. The Times (17 April 2009: “Thailand’s Yellow Shirt leader Sondhi Limthongkul survives assassination attempt”) reports that Sondhi “is in hospital recovering from surgery after gunmen wielding automatic weapons ambushed his car and sprayed it with bullets early this morning.” It says that “The tycoon’s media network reported that more than 100 bullets were fired by the gunmen and AK-47 and M16 shells were found around the car. Mr Sondhi’s bodyguard and his driver were also injured, his driver seriously.” A PAD supporter claimed: “Everyone knows who did it…. It’s bloody Thaksin. He will do anything, even burn his own country down.”A PAD spokesman has said that the assassins were probably police or military (Bangkok Pundit quoting Matichon).

The Nation (17 April 2009: “Sondhi in safe condition now: doctor”) says this was a “gangland-style shooting”, reporting a PAD spokesman as describing the event: “at least two attackers riding on a pickup blocked Sondhi’s vehicle who was on Samsen Road, heading to Manager newspaper office in Banglampoo area early Friday morning. The attackers then shot four tyres of Sondhi’s vehicle before stepping out of their car and sprayed more bullets on the car. The attack lasted about five minutes and the attackers went back to their pickup which sped away along Tevet Road.”

The Bangkok Post (17 April 2009) has: “Maj-Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol, known as Seh Daeng, said he was not involved in the attempted murder of People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) leader Sondhi Limthongkul in Bangkok on Friday morning.” Seh Daeng was, during the PAD demonstrations, close to the red shirts. It has another report here.

Shawn Crispin at the Asia Times (18 April 2009: “Shooting the messenger in Thailand”) has also written an article about the assassination attempt. Crispin includes information that we have not seen elsewhere.

One issue to be raised regarding Crispin’s report is the apparent ease with which he has transformed claims by unnamed sources into factual accounts in this account. PPT would prefer that allegations remain just that.

Crispin is claiming that a guerrilla war has been launched in Thailand by the UDD, a claim also taken up by PAD (see below). That may turn out to be correct. However, PAD is making slightly different version of the story (The Nation, 17 April 2009: “PAD suspects political motivation”).

PAD spokesman Suriyasai Katasila says that: “The gun attack was barbaric, inhumane and politically motivated…”. He added that “PAD leaders suspect certain political cliques conspired to shoot down Sondhi.”

But rather than linking the attack to smuggled weapons, Suriyasai observed that the “shooting with assault rifles bore the hallmarks of work by men in uniform, as ordinary gunmen would not risk carrying out the job during emergency rule.” He called for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to “overhaul the personnel in charge of security affairs.”

PAD co-leader and Democrat Party MP, Somkiat Pongpaiboon said “the country had turned into a killing field, as indicated by Sondhi’s shooting.” Like Crispin he sees “guerrilla warfare, involving teams of assassins for killings.”

Significantly, Somkiat called for “the removal of the national police chief, military commanders, the director of the Armed Forces Security Centre and the director-general of the National Intelligence Agency.” Supporting this position and accusation, PAD co-leader Pibhop Dhongchai said “he found it hard to believe the military had no knowledge about the attack on Sondhi.”


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15 07 2009
New: Suspects named in Sondhi assassination case « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] two suspects in the assassination attempt on Sonthi Limthongkul back in April (see our prior post here). The Nation’s story (15 July 2009: “Two arrest warrants sought”) has most of the […]

10 08 2009
Baffling in Bangkok « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Linking the Sondhi assassination bid and the royal pardon petition When the assassination bid first happened, there was an assumption that Thaksin Shinawatra was behind it. Then Sondhi Limthongkul came out to blame a range of people, from the military top brass to police and people close to the palace (see here and here and here). […]

25 08 2010
Sondhi and Sonthi « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] to hear something from Sondhi on the seemingly long-forgotten “investigation” into the assassination bid against him way back in April 2009. There was a claim more than a year ago that suspects had bbeen […]

28 06 2014
The Dictator and the kamnan | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Dictator lead. The warning to those who mobilize the anti-democrats went out quite some time ago, when Sondhi Limthongkul was punished for getting above himself, and was attacked with automatic weapons. We imagine Suthep should have learned that […]

19 08 2014
Military corruption | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] public events, sometimes associated with military coups, and in black operations, including assassination plots. When accused of these atrocities, the military has impunity but still usually lies about the […]

8 11 2018
All used up | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] was targeted for what was either an assassination bid or a brutal warning to know his place. No one was ever charged, but it is interesting that the media at the time […]

8 11 2018
All used up | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] was targeted for what was either an assassination bid or a brutal warning to know his place. No one was ever charged, but it is interesting that the media at the time […]