Newspaper publisher found murdered in Thailand

New York, November 3, 2005—Newspaper publisher and freelance reporter Santi Lamaneenil was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds to the head in the back of his car outside the beach resort of Pattaya on Wednesday, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating to determine whether the murder was related to his work.

Santi, owner of the local Pattaya Post, was also a freelance contributor to Channel 7 television and newspapers including Khaosod. Police told reporters that the murder could be related to his reporting, but they have not ruled out other motives. Santi had recently reported on illegal operations in late-night entertainment venues, police told local reporters.

Santi’s body was found blindfolded and his hands tied with the cord of a mobile phone battery charger on Wednesday morning. Initial autopsy reports showed that he had been dead for about 10 hours, according to local news reports.

Jongrak Juthanond, the local police chief, told the Bangkok Post that investigators believe there were at least three assailants. The journalist’s wife told police that Santi had stayed with relatives intermittently in recent months for fear of abduction or attack, according to local news reports.