thaicables – It's Your Right to know the Truth!

09BANGKOK982 LEADING ANTI-THAKSIN ACTIVIST SONDHI SHOT IN BANGKOK

leave a comment »

“202826”,”4/17/2009 9:53″,”09BANGKOK982″,”Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

 

“07BANGKOK15|09BANGKOK907″,”VZCZCXRO2389

OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #0982 1070953

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 170953Z APR 09

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6766

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 9610

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 1554

RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 6966

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 5433

RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI PRIORITY 6468

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 000982

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/17/2019

TAGS: PGOV, KJUS, KDEM, ASEC, TH

SUBJECT: LEADING ANTI-THAKSIN ACTIVIST SONDHI SHOT IN

BANGKOK

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 907 (LARGE RED RALLY)

B. 07 BANGKOK 15 (BOMBINGS)

 

Classified By: DCM James F. Entwistle, reason: 1.4 (b and d).

 

SUMMARY AND COMMENT

——————-

 

1. (SBU) Unidentified gunmen shot a leading \”yellowshirt\”

political activist in Bangkok in the early morning hours of

April 17. As of mid-day, the victim, Sondhi Limthongkul, was

recovering from surgery. Sondhi previously led protests

against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra but

maintained a low profile after the December 2008 occupation

of Bangkok\’s airports. In an unrelated development, the

authorities released a suspect in a recently-alleged

assassination plot against a Privy Councilor.

 

2. (C) Comment: It is premature to speculate about the

perpetrators of the Sondhi shooting, but the attack may well

be connected to the recent mob actions in Bangkok. The

ambush, more sophisticated than a typical Thai contract

killing, will likely heighten political tension and make the

RTG reluctant to lift the state of emergency in Bangkok in

the near future. Following an April 17 cabinet meeting, PM

Abhisit announced that the state of emergency would remain in

effect for now.

 

3. (C) Comment, continued: Premeditated political violence in

Bangkok, particularly when directed at powerful figures, has

often taken the form of small and ineffective bombings — ref

B lists a number of such bombings that targeted Thaksin\’s

foes. The attack on Sondhi represents a significant

escalation of tactics. End Summary and Comment.

 

AMBUSH

——

 

4. (SBU) Between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. on April 17, unidentified

gunmen ambushed Sondhi Limthongkul as he traveled by car to a

Bangkok television studio for a regularly-scheduled

broadcast. Sondhi and his driver were wounded and

hospitalized. The media reported in the afternoon of April

17 that doctors removed a bullet from Sondhi\’s head, and that

Sondhi was conscious and able to speak.

 

5. (SBU) The media reported that at least two assailants in a

truck fired on Sondhi and fled the scene. Based on shell

casings retrieved from the scene, the authorities believe

that the gunmen used M-16 and AK-47 assault rifles.

According to at least one media report, the authorities also

found an unexploded M-79 grenade at the scene.

 

6. (C) Sondhi, a media mogul, became a leading critic of

Thaksin and co-founded the People\’s Alliance for Democracy

(PAD). The PAD pushed for then-Prime Minister Thaksin\’s

ouster in 2005-6 and then protested against pro-Thaksin

administrations that held power in 2008. During PAD\’s 2008

protest, its supporters, under Sondhi\’s leadership, occupied

the Government House compound for three months and closed

Bangkok\’s airports for a week. Contacts have told us that

Sondhi privately told other Thais that Queen Sirikit directly

supported his efforts. In advance of a recent application

for a U.S. visa, Sondhi requested expedited procedures for

his appearance at the Embassy, citing concerns for his

security.

 

PRIVY COUNCILOR ALLEGEDLY TARGETED

———————————-

 

7. (C) In a separate development, the authorities released a

Navy Captain, Chakkrit Sekhanant, who had been detained in

connection with the alleged plot to assassinate Privy

Councilor Charnchai Likitjitta (ref A). A high-ranking

police official told us that the police working on this case

appeared to have done sloppy work, which (for him) cast doubt

on whether the alleged assassination plot was genuine.

JOHN

Advertisements

Written by thaicables

June 23, 2011 at 2:29 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: