Thai Media Project – April 2009

More: Unlocking the Thai world: Thai-language newspaper headlines

Political assassination - translated and summarized from Kom Chad Luek; April 19, 2009
Thailand’s political society and conflicts have entered a new dimension. People separate into groups, caused mainly by personal beliefs and ideas.
The conflict is also partly created by money, misleading statements or other benefits given to supporters. The generosity of Thai people is gone as they are overwhelmed by greediness and ambition.
The effort to assassin Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva twice by red-shirt members reflects the darkness of the people. They try to kill the others without any personal reasons. They were hired and lured.
Luckily, the Prime Minister escaped from the attack. But others, including Secretary to the Prime Minister Niphon Promphan, were seriously injured. In addition, Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul, a leader of the People Alliance for Democracy and an advisor of ASTV, was fired upon by weapons in the middle of the city.
The political assassination can be counted as a new phenomenon in a fight for government power and personal benefits, or even personal revenge to get rid of enemies. They applied dirty strategies without considering any bad effects, for instance, people’s well being, economy, society and politics.
It is time that the Prime Minister applies decisive power under the law to bring back peace to the country and restore security. If it hesitates, bad incidents could happen and it will be too late to solve them.

To apply the law decisively – solution to current social conflict - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit, April 19, 2009
The assassination attempt on Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul, a leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy and the owner of ASTV channel and ASTV Manager Daily newspaper, will lead to a more serious political conflict. He played an important role in opposing former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Right now, several parties start to become worried as the assassination will create an in-depth impact. The conflict between the red-shirt and yellow-shirt parties will become worse. Yellow-shirt people will automatically believe that the ones who commit the crime are Thaksin supporters. The above situation is about to become a trigger of a battle between both parties. It will develop to a real violent fight.
It means that the current political situation of Thailand is extremely worrying. Violent incidents could happen everywhere, not only in Bangkok. An effort to bring back peace will be just a dream. The challenge is how to live our lives in chaos.
The only solution is to apply to law – precisely and decisively. The law applier will have to show that he applies the law transparently. It may take time to prove that as people are now in a state of doubt.


Thaksin’s goal – The failure of Thai government - translated and summarized from Thai Rath, Column: Political News Analysis, April 19, 2009
This year, people have the longest Songkran holiday as the government wants people to have fun and be happy in order to ease the internal conflict. However, what red-shirt people did brought the country into chaos.
They blocked several roads and streets in Bangkok. The traffic became paralyzed. Many spots were attacked by bombs. The protesters also burnt down buses and took over gas trucks. The situation was so horrible that the government applied the State of Emergency, allowing military officers to take charge of the situation.
The mob fought against the military and civilians fought against the mob. Even Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was attacked by the mob, while his secretary was seriously injured.
The military brought the situation under control and pressured leaders of the red-shirt people to dissolve the mob and surrender themselves. Luckily, no bloodshed incident happened.
It must be admitted that the current conflicts and chaos have been halted for a while, but not permanently.
The true leader of the red-shirt mob – Thaksin Shinawatra – is not giving up as he does not achieve his goal yet. As the leader of the mob, he announced that he wanted to mobilize the red-shirt members to face the government, aiming to create negotiation power.
He also stepped up the gathering by blocking the Government House, trying to oust the Prime Minister and the aristocracy.
He pressured Chairman of the Privy Council and statesman Gen. Prem Tinansulanonda, Privy Councilor Gen. Surayud Chulanont and Privy Councilor Charnchai Likhitjita to quit their positions. Moreover, he also tried to negotiate with some parties to give him back 50 billion baht, from his total assets of 76 billion baht, and dismiss all of his charges.
However, secret negotiations did not enable him to achieve his goal.
Consequently, he stepped up the protest – aimed at bringing an absolute conflict among Thai people. He tried to make Thailand a failed government state.
He tried to tell the world through international media that Thailand’s current government did not come from a right election and it was an outcome of a military coup.
He talked about Thailand’s legal processes in a bad way. He also discredited the Chairman of the Privy Council and Privy Councilors.
He wanted international organizations like the United Nations to give him a hand. However, it did not work as the government was able to control the mob in the last minute.
Nevertheless, he could make the ASEAN Summit in Pattaya collapse. Leader of ten ASEAN countries and other partners had to make their way home.
International media reported the news, which greatly affected Thailand’s investment and tourism.
Leaders of the mob will have to talk to seek solutions. However, it depends on if they still have to listen to the ‘big boss’. If they still have to, the problem can never be ended.

Red-shirt and yellow-shirt people - translated and summarized from ASTV Manager Daily, Author: Chaianant Samutwanich, April 20, 2009
I once said that there was no solution to Thailand’s political crisis and did not see that a political revolution would help. The main problem is Thai people’s character and behavior, mostly of those who want a social revolution. This is a major factor which affects political behavior.
During the Songkran festival, we have seen actions which tell about cultural background. The mob was mobilized by a group of leaders who were poor and had family problems. They were angry at society and those who possess a better life.
These people gathered for the advantage of one person [Thaksin]. They expressed aggressiveness and violence. They attacked the Prime Minister’s car, officials and the Prime Minister’s Secretary. Therefore, we must admit that Thai society is seriously sick. This problem needs to be solved before it gets worse. The child raising revolution is needed before the political revolution.
All leaders of the red-shirt people have mental problems. The mass was also full of madness, as well as drunk people.
They were noticeably different to yellow-shirt people, who have a concrete political point and were hugely supported. Leaders of yellow-shirt people are various, educated and well-known, while the red-shirt mob was led by a group of people who were not well-known and not accepted.
The effort to assassinate Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul shows that even though the red-shirt mob was over, problems in Thai politics do not end yet.
The columnist tells Abhisit Vejjajiva that this sort of politics is not worth for him to get involved in. If he were Abhisit, he would either get rid of powerful people or quit.

To arrest the person behind the assassination of Sondhi is part of the national agenda – A bid to restore military and police image - translated and summarized from Thai Post; Column: Editorial; April 20, 2009
The attempt to assassinate Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul, a leader of the People Alliance for Democracy, becomes the talk of the town. Even international media report about the matter. Therefore, it automatically becomes the responsibility of the Abhisit Vejjajiva’s government to seek the answer of the incident. It will not only restore the confidence of Thailand, but also restore the image of the country’s security image after the ASEAN Summit in Pattaya was cancelled.
Many notices on the matter, like weapons used, the way the crime was committed, the time of the incident and the fact that Bangkok was under the State of Emergency, reflect that ordinary people, who have nothing to do with weapon, would not be able to commit such a crime.
In addition, the son of Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul, leaders of the PAD and even a leader of the red-shirt mob – Mr. Jatuporn Promphan – see that the crime, which challenges the power of the government and the State of Emergency, cannot be done if the police or military do not get involved.
Once all notices go in the same way – government officials are involved in the assassination – the Abhisit government has a responsibility to seek the truth and answer to the question about the influence and power of those colored people.

The bloodshed formula - translated and summarized from Krungthep Turakit; Column: Tracking politics; Author: Pracha Burapavithee; April 10, 2009
The red shirt protest under the leadership of the “Truth Today” team chooses the path that leads to the “breakup” [of the government] by mean of the seizure of the Victory Monument. This is the same policy to pressure the incumbent government which is not different from the yellow counterpart [the PAD].
We comment that this is not a surprise strategy, but the same old “bloodshed formula” like in the past when the October 14, 1973 and the Black May 1992 events occurred. The October 14, 1973 bloodshed event allowed the country to have an “appointed government” and the after the Black May 1992 event the government was formed and joined by [unelected] outsiders. This is, therefore, why we say a bloodshed formula is the formula to make change in politics. The strategy to wreak chaos in the city is not deceptive, but well-planned and launched by some old army figure who joined hands with some influential army figure, close aide of a former leader [Thaksin], aimed at bringing the army to be involved. THis is to create the situation like in the past when the mass of the people was stirred up to fight the army power. THis situation then led to pave the way for political change.

Hardcore key man - Beware the red shirt’s war plan - translated and summarized from Matichon; April 9, 2009
The red shirt protest announced its goal to topple the aristocracy in the country and this is to be closely watched as the UDD war strategy. The key men monitoring the protests consist of three teams. First, the front team operating the movements for the gathering are Veere Musikapong, Jatuporn Prompan and Nuttawut Saikuer. Second, the team on overall strategy are the Phea Thai opposition party members and the disbanded politicians. The only man who knows the top policy is ousted Premier Thaksin Shinawatra. The third team is the special operational team of pro-red high rank military officials including former ISOC Deputy Director Gen Pallop Pinmanee.
It is a dangerous time for Thailand as the reds are out to topple aristocracy in the country.



Daily News, April 19, 2009 - Anupong [Commander-in-Chief] urges police to follow up with the hunt of gunmen involved with Sondhi’s shooting attack - Stating army general rank holder is mastermind
Army Commander-in-Chief bets his life to prove the army kills no one - The emergency decree is prolonged - Every injured person to be helped


Daily News, April 19, 2009 - The caption is reads: Assassin - The authorities (top left) inspect the spot where the gunman gang opened fire on the van close to the Bangkhunprom intersection causing Sondhi Limthongkul (top right) to suffer injury on his right temple. The doctor performed a surgical operation to save his life. Sondhi has his charm cloth (below right) with him all the time. The picture below left and in the middle shows the close circuit camera’s footage with the record of Sondhi’s van and the pickup of suspects passing the Thewes Intersection.

Thai Rath, April 19, 2009 - Thaksin’s target - The Thai government’s failure
At the bottom: Red Shirt chaos “breaks” Asean summit - riles up the people’s anger



Kom Chad Luek, April 18, 2009 - Miracle Sondhi (survives) - The tragic Songkran - The 84 bullets of a weapon - Car damaged - Part of bullet left injured in head - Police confused as many accusers involved - The PAD believes Army post holder involved
In the bid of life [he bets his life] - Anupong insists no deaths [from the army crackdown]
The reasons of the mob dissolution - Emergency decree prolonged

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