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Thai 'Yellow Shirt' Founder Survives Attack

The founder of a Thai political group which helped remove former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from power has narrowly survived an attack by gunmen. The attack comes as the Thai capital remains under a state of emergency declared after supporters of Mr. Thaksin clashed with security forces.

Thai police say Sondhi Limthongkul was driving to work early Friday morning when his car was fired on by at least two gunmen using automatic rifles.

The gunmen sprayed more than 50 rounds on the media tycoon's car, hitting him in the shoulder and wounding his bodyguard and assistant.

Victim recovering after surgery

Doctors later removed a bullet fragment from Sondhi's skull and say he is now recovering.

Buranaj Smutharaks is a spokesman for the Democrat Party, the political party of Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. He told journalists Sondhi was the latest casualty of violent unrest to hit Bangkok, which he blamed on a minority of anti-government protesters.

"Although the majority of people who took part in the demonstrations are believed to be genuine in their grievances and intended to exercise their rights according to the law, the spates of outright violence around the city … were all premeditated," Buranaj said.

No suspects, motive

Thai police have not announced any suspects or motive in the shooting.

The media tycoon led the "yellow shirt" protest movement against former Prime Minister Thaksin, leading to his removal from power and the rise of current Prime Minister Abhisit.

Red-shirt protesters supporting Mr. Thaksin have in recent weeks held protests against Mr. Abhisit that turned violent. They say his government is illegitimate and want Mr. Thaksin to return from exile to contest new elections.

State of emergency in effect

Protesters forced the Thai government to cancel a meeting of Asian and Pacific leaders. Clashes in Bangkok left two people dead and more than 130 wounded before protesters dispersed Tuesday under military pressure.

The city is still under a state of emergency that makes it illegal for any public gatherings larger than five people and allows the government to censor the media and deploy soldiers.

The Thai government says it will lift the declared emergency once it is certain that peace has returned to Bangkok.