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JOURNALIST MURDERED

The Thai Journalists Association and Southeast Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA) have joined the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in urging Thai authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the killing of a reporter last week in the beach resort province of Phuket.

On 11 February, Surapong Ritthee was shot in the head in bright daylight by an armed assailant outside a grocery store in Patong Beach, TJA reports. He was a reporter for the daily newspaper "Thai Rath" and Channel 3 television, and owned the bi-monthly newspaper "Siang Tai Rai Wan" ("Voice of the South").

Although the motive behind his murder remains unconfirmed, police believe Surapong's exposé of a an illegal strip club in Patong might have caused his death, TJA says. As a result of his report, local authorities ordered the establishment shut down. Surapong also owned several businesses in Phuket, including a pub and restaurant, and a shrimp farm, adds CPJ.

Visit these links:

- TJA: www.ifex.org">http://www.ifex.org/alerts/view.html?id=11947">www.ifex.org

- CPJ: www.cpj.org">http://www.cpj.org/inquiry/2003/Thai14feb03inq.html">www.cpj.org

- SEAPA Report on Thailand: www.seapabkk.org">http://www.seapabkk.org/alerts/2003/20030108.html">www.seapabkk.org

- RSF Report on Thailand: www.rsf.org">http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=1430">www.rsf.org

- IFJ: www.ifj.org


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