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Satellite television provider's head office attacked with grenades, guns

(SEAPA/IFEX) - Early in the morning on 28 November 2008, unidentified individuals fired two 40mm grenades at the head office of satellite television services provider ASTV in an apparent attempt to destroy the satellite transponder dishes on the building's roof, media reports said.

According to "The Nation", ASTV security and police officers said the suspects arrived at around 1:50 a.m. (local time) in a motorised boat along the Chao Phraya River, from which they fired their grenade launchers and assault rifles.

Instead of hitting their target, the grenades were caught in a protective netting that had been put in place earlier by security officials. The resulting explosions shattered the windows of the building's fourth floor, injuring an announcer, Natthawut Mitmark, who suffered cuts to his hands due to the shards of glass.

Reporter Worarat Phusathong said he was leaving the office when he heard two explosions. He ran outside and heard gunfire coming from the rear of the building, which overlooks the river. He said the gunfire lasted between five and 10 minutes.

When police arrived at the scene, they arrested a security officer identified as 41-year-old Pornchai Sanguanpoj. He claimed that he had shot at the suspects with his pistol.

On 24 November, suspects who remain unidentified also attacked the building with grenade launchers. The grenades hit the net and fell into the river.

ASTV is owned by media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul, who also leads the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD). PAD supporters have been holding protest rallies against the incumbent government for the past four months. They have also taken control of Government House and laid siege to the Parliament building recently. Finally, PAD supporters have been occupying Suvarnabhumi International Airport since the night of 25 November, resulting in the cancellation of all flights.

For further information on the previous attack on ASTV, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98857

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