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