Daily slams 'outrageous' attack

national April 26, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Two M79 grenade attacks on Thursday aimed at the Thai-language Daily News newspaper in northern Bangkok and the Central Administrative Court in Nonthaburi resulted in no casualties but caused property damage.

Deputy national police chief General Aek Angsananont deplored the attack on the daily’s compound but did not speculate on whether politics was the motive behind it. 
He also did not speculate on the motive behind the attack on the courthouse, but said it was aimed at anti-government protesters who had converged in areas near it.
He said it was likely that those behind both attacks were the same people, and discussed security measures to guard against future attacks. 
The Daily News was targeted in a twin M79 attack seven years ago, with police failing to bring those behind it to justice.
The attack on Thursday took place at around 10pm, with the grenade likely shot from ground level at the front of the compound on inbound Vibhavadi Rangsit lanes at a distance of around 150-200 metres.
It hit the ground at around 40 degrees, according to Pol Colonel Kamthorn Oui-charoen, an Explosives Ordnance Disposal commander.
The M79 grenade that hit the courthouse was possibly launched from the CAT, which is located next to it on Chaeng Wattana Road. 
Kamthorn said the round was launched in a projectile movement from around 250 metres from the courthouse’s northeast and was aimed at a protest site nearby, but the grenade’s flight was altered by strong winds.
The Daily News condemned the attack on its compound, saying threatening the media was the same as threatening the people. 
It called for swift police action.
In a later statement, the daily paper described the action as outrageously violent.
“The attack threatened a media organisation’s right to perform its duty, which would lead to a blockage in providing fair and accurate news to the Thai people,” it said.
“During this conflict, we will perform our duty as a media outlet to the full for the benefit of the country and the people.” 
The Thai Journalists Association and the National Press Council of Thailand issued a joint statement condemning the attack on the Daily News, saying that it was harmful not only to the media, but also to Thai society and the public.
They called on the government’s Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order and national police chief General Adul Saengsingkaew to find out who was responsible for the attacks and bring them to justice.
Separately on Thursday night, a military intelligence officer, Colonel Wittawat Wattanakul, was sent to Mongkutwattana Hospital after being shot near the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) rally site on Chaeng Wattana Road as he was driving home. 
A PDRC chief guard went to visit him and apologised yesterday saying the guards misunderstood and shot the soldier in the foot as they were afraid that he would be one of the groups who want to attack the protesters. 
Supreme Commander General Tana-sak Patimapragorn yesterday ordered investigation and beefing up security measures near the Royal Thai Armed Forces Commands and the protest areas.