Sondhi Limthongkul, the leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who was shot and wounded in an attempt on his life last month, charged Sunday that “some influential soldiers” were behind the attack.
Speaking publicly for the first time since he was discharged from a state-run hospital on April 25, Mr. Sondhi, founder of Thai language daily newspaper the ‘Manager’, said he believed there were two motives behind the assassination attempt.
The first reason was he said because he is an influential journalist and publisher, and secondly because he is also a core leader of the PAD. Mr. Sondhi added that the violent attack also served as a warning – both to PAD members and their rivals the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).
Police investigators said 64 AK-47 cartridges, 16 M-16 cartridge casings and 17 SK cartridge casings were found at the crime scene. Army chief Gen. Anupong Paochinda has admitted that some of the ammunition used in the April 17 attack on Mr. Sondhi belonged to the army, and pledged to take serious action against those involved in stealing the ammunition.
Mr. Sondhi said the gunmen involved in the attack were well-trained and used four cars to expertly surround his.
“No less than 10 gunmen were involved and they used heavy combat weapons in shooting at my car. Some of them were influential army personnel but the military was not behind the plot,” Mr. Sondhi said.
He added however that the military and police were not interested in investigating the case after the incident took place. (TNA)
Strike is a sign anyone can be killed including PM : Sondhi
Media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul on Sunday blamed “certain military officers,” as being mastermind behind an attempt to assassinate him last month.
Sondhi, who survived the attempted murder, said he believed the army as a whole has nothing to do with the attack.
Speaking for the first time since the attack on April 17, Sondhi said that the attackers were professional, judging from the way they fired rifles at his vehicle on that day.
All the weapons were war weapons which could not be acquired easily in the market.
Sondhi earlier said he saw all when the attackers fired at his vehicle in front of Iamworanut Temple on Sam Sen Road on that day. The attack injured Sondhi, his aide and seriously wounded the driver.
“There were altogether four vehicles used in the attack and about ten hitmen. It is interesting to know that five security cameras near and at the attack scene were abruptly out of order,” he said.
He said he believed the attack was a joint work of powerful people.
It was also a clear threat to the Thai media as those behind the strike wanted to send the message to all the media to stop reporting accurate news.
“I am a journalist who have clear objectives to report what is really happening in the country.
Sondhi said the strike was not caused by personal conflicts.
This is the first time in the Thai history that the media was threatened in the brutal way. “It was a signal to all sides including Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. If Sondhi can be killed, PM can face the same act,” Sondhi said.
Sondhi: Powerful figures behind attack
People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) leader Sondhi Limthongkul, who survived the attack by two gunmen on April 17, believed the gunmen were soldiers, but he could not tell if high-ranking army officials were behind this attempted murder.
Mr Sondhi said on Sunday that the attack may have some implications.
If he was killed, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva could be the next target as well, Mr Sondhi said.
He condemned the act as brutal, outrageous and unforgivable, and said the offenders had no respect of the country and the society.
He believed the people’s political gatherings could endanger the old and new political cliques, and they may want to strike fear on the public.
The PAD leader believed the gunmen were trained and more than 10 people should be involved during the attack. He said all the closed-circuit television cameras were not working when the shooting took place.
He said these factors made him assume that certain powerful figures could be working together to eliminate him.
But the army would not commit such a disgraceful act, he said.
This was not a work of professional gunmen but a team of assassins because they knew everything about his activities, he reckoned.
Mr Sondhi said he will continue to fight for democracy in the country, and he was not disheartened as rumoured.
He said doctors told him to get enough rest as he had not fully recovered from the attack.
At about 5am on April 17 in Bangkok, two gunmen sprayed a hail of bullets at Mr Sondhi’s car, wounding him, his aide and driver.
Straites Times : Nirmal Ghosh speaks to Sondhi after his near-death experience– Reds and Yellows alike?