August 28, 2000
His Excellency Chuan Leekpai
VIA FACSIMILE: 66-2-282-8587
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply disturbed by the recent bombing of leading journalist Suriwong Uapatiphan's residence in Bangkok. Police believe the attack was in retaliation for his writing.
Early on the morning of 24 August, a bomb exploded in front of Suriwong's house, causing damage to the building and two cars. Investigators say the bomb was electronically detonated and was apparently intended to frighten-not kill-those inside the house. A senior police official was quoted in the Bangkok Post saying that the explosion was meant to intimidate Suriwong, who was home with his family when the explosion occurred at about 3:00 a.m.
Suriwong is the news editor of Khao Sod, a leading Thai-language daily. He writes a popular column that often takes local police to task for alleged corruption, and he has also been sued for defamation by a police general. Editors at Khao Sod told reporters they believe the attack was a result of the paper's generally critical coverage of the police.
"I have been in this [newspaper] business for 20 years. Threats are common but this attack is way too much. My family and I are shocked it happened at our own home," Suriwong told the Bangkok Post.
"We have had several cases of media harassment, but never had any single criminal brought in to justice," Prasong Lertrattanavisuth of the Thai Journalists Association told CPJ. "It is time for the government and the National Police Office to pay attention on this matter to guarantee the country's freedom of expression."
As an organization of journalists dedicated to the defense of our colleagues around the world, CPJ joins the Thai Journalists Association and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance in calling for a swift investigation into this attack. We further urge Your Excellency to ensure that Suriwong's attackers are prosecuted for their crime, and that the results of any investigation are made public in a timely fashion.
Ann K. Cooper