Bangkok – A journalist’s car was shot at early morning on Tuesday in what is believed to be a work-related incident.
According to a statement of Association of Crime Photographers, the attack took place at around 2:00 a.m. in front of Chatchai Suksomnuek’s home in Daokhanong district in Bangkok.
Bullets went through the car’s front and side windows and damaged its hood. Chatchai was reportedly inside his house and heard the sounds of the gunshots when the attack took place. He waited until the dawn before coming out to check his car which was parked outside his home.
Chatchai denied the attack was linked to personal issues.
The statement condemned the attack as blatant attempt at undermining press freedom. The association called on the police to quickly bring the culprits to justice and inform the public whenever there is progress in the investigation.
They also urged the government to provide adequate protection for journalists.
In response to the incident, Thai Journalists Association (TJA) vice president Pramed Lekpetch expressed concern the incident took place despite the fact that the country is under a military government.
“Regardless whether it targeted a journalist or situation, it clearly showed disrespect of the law,” Pramed said.
He called upon the police to find culprits so that legal action can be filed and also to contain further attacks on journalists. Pramed noted that similar attacks have happened it the past and police have not been able to solve the cases.
TJA believes the motivation for the attack is worked-related.
Chatchai is a long-time reporter with the police beat. He also worked at a police TV station before the incident. The reason for his leaving the station was not known.
Prior to the attack, Suchart reported on the police reshuffle.
The last known attack on a journalist in Thailand happened at the height of the political tensions in 2013 when guns were fired at the car of Pattara Khampitak, editor of Post Today. A dud grenade was also left hanging on the post of the gate of the housing compound where Pattara lives.
The attack was believed to be meant as a threat rather than an attempt to kill Pattara, who was a critic of the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The case has not been resolved.
[Updated, 8 June 2016: The first name of the victim has been corrected, as well as the description of the damage to his car.]