Attempted Assassination on Key PAD Leader
One of the key leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy was shot during an assassination attempt early this morning and is now in surgery. PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul and his driver were severely injured when a group of men with automatic rifles fired on their vehicle.
At 5.30am this morning, Police Captain Prakorb Yenluckroi, of the Chanasongkram police station, received a report that someone had tried to assassinate Sondhi Limthongkul, founder of the Manager Media Group and a key leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, in the Phra Nakhon district of Bangkok.
Police at the scene discovered Sondi’s Toyota van, which had been hit with gunfire many times. All four tires had been shot. Police said they found about 100 discharged shell casings from M-16 and AK-47 rifles at the scene.
An eyewitness reported that the shooters had followed Sondhi’s van in a pick-up truck, firing at the tires as they neared the Bang Khun Phrom intersection, and then opening fire into the van before fleeing in the direction of Thewes Road. The witness said one shooter wore a white top and camouflage pants.
Sondhi’s driver and bodyguard are now at Mission Hospital while Sondhi himself is being treated at Vajira Hospital.
Vajira Hopital President Chaiwan Charoenchokthavee has revealed that Sondhi Limthongkul has a piece of metal buried in the right side of his right head. He is now undergoing an operation which is expected to be completed by noon.
Visitors are not permitted due to concerns over the patient’s safety.
Media Mogul Sondhi’s Car Ambushed
An unknown number of assailants fired more than 100 shots at media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul’s car this morning.
The incident took place at 5.45am on Samsen Road, about a kilometer away from the entrance of the Bank of Thailand and in front of the Iamworanuj Temple and Caltex petrol station, as Sondhi was traveling to the ASTV office on Phra Arthit Road for his daily morning talkshow called ‘Good Morning Thailand.’
Sondhi has been slightly injured and was sent to the Wachira Hospital while the driver, Adul Daengpradab, has been seriously injured and is being treated at the Mission Hospital. Sondhi’s bodyguard 40-year-old Vayupak Madsin has been slightly injured and is being treated at Mission Hospital. All are said to be in a safe condition right now.
Wachira Hospital Director Doctor Chaichana Charoenchoktawee revealed shrapnel from a bullet hit Sondhi in forehead on the right side but he remains conscious and is lucid. He has gone in for surgery to remove the shrapnel and stem bleeding in the brain since 8am and the surgery should take around 3 hours.
Sondhi was traveling in a black Toyota Alphard license plat WL 89. Bullets shattered the windshield and all windows and all four tires were shot.
57 AKA and M-16 shells were found all around the vehicle.
Stray bullets also hit the number 53 non air-conditioned bus.
The assailants were said to have been driving a pick-up bronze colored Toyota Vigo. The gunman was said to have shot at the tires first before shooting at the car. The truck then speeded up on Samsen Road, heading to the Thewet intersection, in its escape.
Spokesman of the People’s Alliance for Democracy Panthep Puapongpan confirmed Sondhi’s safety and said his location cannot be disclosed at this time.
He condemned those behind the attack and said it’s a mistaken belief that killing Sondhi would end the PAD movement as Sondhi has set up a network, comprising of ASTV and PAD chapters nationwide. He asked PAD supporters nationwide not to worry about Sondhi’s condition and said this attack is proof that the ASTV and PAD network is really working.
He called on the police to speed up their investigation into the case and bring those involved to justice.
photos by: Manager Online
Media Mogul in Safe Condition after Assassination Attempt
The director of Vajira Hospital has declared that key leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy Sondhi Limthongkul has been saved by an urgent operation after he was attacked by an unidentified group of men on the way to his office this morning.
After a nearly 3-hour operation, Vajira Hospital Director Doctor Chaiwan Chareonchoktawee declared core leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD Sondhi Limthongkul is in safe condition.
The director said scraps of a bullet that were partly logged in Sondhi’s skull were successfully removed, but Sondhi will have to remain in recovery at the hospital for seven to 10 days.
Early this morning, Sondhi and his bodyguards faced a storm of gunshots on Samsen Road as he was on his way to host the ‘Good Morning Thailand’ show at the ASTV head office.
At 5.30am, Sondhi’s Toyota Van was blocked by unidentified Toyota Vigo pickup truck with no license plate, near the Bangkhunphom Intersection. At least two attackers in the pickup truck shot all four tires on Sondhi’s vehicle before stepping out of their truck and spraying more bullets on the vehicle.
The attack lasted about five minutes, at which point the attackers returned to their pickup and sped away towards the Tewet Intersection.
Police rushed to the scene and found Sondhi’s car riddled with bullets. They collected more than 100 AK-47 and M-16 cartridges from the scene.
There had been serious concerns for Sondhi’s life as a bullet lodged in his skull, causing bleeding inside his brain. Sondhi is now safe and is even able to speak.
At the crime scene, a misfired M-79 grenade was also found in a number 30 bus, after the attackers failed to shoot it into Sondhi’s van. Fortunately the grenade attack failed due to technical problems with the launcher.
The gang-style shooting is expected to prolong the state of emergency in Bangkok and its suburbs.
Sondhi’s driver was seriously wounded in the attack, and doctors now say he is in stable condition.
Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, Police Lieutenant General Worapong Chewpreecha said political or business conflicts may have been the motive for the attack.
The city police chief said he cannot identify whether the attackers were officials in state security agencies or regular civilians.
PAD Leader Pipob: Sondhi’s Assassination Attempt by Thaksin’s Associates
People’s Alliance for Democracy leader Pipob Thongchai is confident the attempt on the life of fellow PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul is ordered by associates of fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.
He said these people are full of vengeance so when their red shirt rally during the Songkran holiday had to be dispersed, they cannot accept the loss and want to lash out.
He said the people should not be dragged into this as it is not a fight between the red and yellow shirts but is an issue pertaining only to Thaksin.
He added that Thaksin wants Thai society and the Thai government to not be able to exist and for chaos to reign.
Pipob is confident there will be assassination attempts on other individuals. He added that PAD leaders are aware of this and he, himself, has taken more care about his security.
Pipob further said this is a battle that has been prolonged by Thaksin’s camp and it is up to PM Abhisit Vejjajiva about how he will take care of security. He is confident the government has information about this attempt on Sondhi’s life and it should not be difficult to apprehend the gunmen with cooperation from the military as information should exist about the gunmen.
Pipob said the PM should have a talk with Deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban, Army Chief Gen Anupong Paochinda, and Police Chief Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan to discuss security plans for the country. If they cannot guarantee security, they should be transferred from their posts.
The PAD is scheduled to hold a press conference on its reaction to the attemp on Sondhi’s life at 2.30pm at Ban Phra Arthit.
Foreign Media Focus on Attempt on PAD Leader’s Life
The assassination attempt against core leader of the People’s Alliance Sondhi Limthongkul this morning has become a hot topic among foreign news agencies. Most are reporting that a motive behind the plot may involve politics.
The international press has reported the assassination attempt on Thai media mogul and leader of People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD, Sondhi Limthongkul this morning.
According to Reuters, Sondhi is known for his role in leading the yellow-shirt movement against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The English news agency also says he and his PAD supporters were not involved in the recent political chaos involving several red-shirt riots in Bangkok and the resort town of Pattaya.
Meanwhile, the British Broadcasting Corporation or BBC has provided an update on the current political situation, saying that Thailand’s capital is now under more intense security after two people were killed and hundreds wounded in a violent protest over the past week.
The UK-based agency also mentioned that during an interview, Thaksin called on His Majesty the King to step in to put an end to the ongoing conflict.
The Associated Press or AP and Agence France Press or AFP gave a detailed account on the assassination plot against Sondhi this morning, saying that a group of at least two men attacked a car carrying Sondhi to his television station, with heavy gunfire early in the morning. The PAD leader and his driver were seriously wounded. Both have been treated at the Vajira Hospital and are now out of imminent danger.
The AP also revealed that PAD Spokesman Panthep Puapongpan believes that the assassination attempt has a political motive. The American source says the motive is currently under investigation by police.
In the meantime, Bloomberg analyst Chris Baker has said the incident is likely to prompt the government to maintain the state of emergency. He suggested that all concerned parties meet in a bid to find a solution to the political problems, and that further crackdown or suppression will only lead to more violent confrontations.
Bloomberg also said that Thaksin’s Spokesman, Pornthep Thepkanjana said in a telephone interview that his boss cannot bear anymore violence
US Post Today– Thai anti Thaksin leader survives assassination bid