News / Asia

Poet’s Shooting Death Raises Worries of Rising Tensions in Thailand

A man places a portrait of Kamol Duangphasuk, who was killed a day before, as his body is prepared for a funeral at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Apr. 24, 2014.
A man places a portrait of Kamol Duangphasuk, who was killed a day before, as his body is prepared for a funeral at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Apr. 24, 2014.
The shooting death of a prominent pro-government poet in Thailand is prompting concerns that it could lead to more political violence in the country.

The daylight shooting of 45-year-old Kamol Duangphasuk outside a restaurant in the capital is the latest unsolved attack on a high-profile figure in Thailand at a time of political instability.
 
Kamol, better known by his pen name Mai Neung Kor Khuntee, was a supporter of the Red Shirt movement, which backs the government of interim prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who has been battling to stay in office. Kamol was killed in his car in the parking lot of a restaurant Wednesday afternoon.
 
FILE - Dr. Weng TojirakarnFILE - Dr. Weng Tojirakarn
x
FILE - Dr. Weng Tojirakarn
FILE - Dr. Weng Tojirakarn
​A leader of the United Front for Democracy (UDD), the core Red Shirt group, Dr. Weng Tojirakarn says it is obvious from the crime scene and the two wounds on the victim’s chest that the activist artist was assassinated at close range.

“I think that the bullet came from the pistol not very far from Mai Neung. So the assassin must be very close, not more than one meter,” he said.

Kamol had spoken out against Thailand’s harsh lese majeste law, under which those convicted can face up to 15 years in prison for defamation of the royal family.
 
The Red Shirts are often labeled as being against the country’s monarchy, something their leaders deny.
 
An army major general and anti-government figure, who runs a private hospital in Bangkok, recently set up what he calls the Rubbish Collection Organization to flush out those allegedly insulting the monarchy.
 
Dr. Weng says he sees no coincidence between the establishment of the new group and the latest killing. He calls for its founder, Dr. Rienthong Nanna, to denounce the lethal attack.
 
The UDD leader says the Red Shirts, despite their anger at being targeted, will not retaliate.
 
“We resolutely stand on the non-violent method," said Dr. Weng. "So even we do know that Mai Neung has been killed by the political conflict; we still tell our colleagues that please don’t use the violent method because we can’t overcome or solve the political conflict by violent methods.”
 
The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch non-governmental organization is calling for Thai authorities to investigate the killing and bring “whoever is responsible to justice — wherever that investigation leads.” The group’s statement also notes the recent formation of the pro-monarchy organization which calls those accused of committing lese majeste offenses “garbage” and vows to “exterminate” them.
 
Human Rights Watch says Kamol’s death “can only worsen the already tense political situation in Thailand.”

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid