Thanom Borikut, a Thai premier league referee, was seriously injured after two assailants sprayed him with bullets early Wednesday as he was making his way to a stadium in Bangkok's Hua Mark district, police said.
As of press time, doctors declared that Thanom, 44, was out of critical condition, though he was hit by two bullets in the torso and one in his elbow.
Bangkok police chief Pol LtGeneral Camronwit Toopgrajank said a security guard, who witnessed the attack, had testified that the assailants ran away after Thanom pulled out his own pistol to strike back.
“This proves that Thanom knew he was being targeted so he carried arms with him,” the police chief said. He also recounted football fans as saying that Thanom’s decisions often went against others’ beliefs and that he was also reportedly involved in gambling.
Fellow referee Srichot Srikerd, 36, said before the attack, Thanom had woken him up to undergo a physical test before a match in Malaysia. “Our lives hang by a thread nowadays,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Thanom’s wife Paiwan said she had always asked her husband to quit his job but to no avail.
Lt Gen Chinsen Thongkomol said the Football Association of Thailand had initially given Thanom Bt50,000 to cover the medical bills.