Wisut, 44, reporter and owner of the newspaper Inside
Phuket, was shot and killed by two motorcycle-riding assailants while driving
with his wife, Jiraporn Hosakul, during morning rush hour on the southern
island of Phuket, according to news reports.
One of the assailants fired four times through the
windshield of Wisut’s car as the journalist was waiting to turn onto a main road,
news reports said. Wisut died from gunshot injuries to the shoulder, chest, and
throat at Vachira Hospital later that morning, according to the reports. His
wife was unharmed.
Police arrested Noppadon Praisri, a mini-bus operator, in
the southern town of Cha-am on January 17 after the motorcycle used in the
crime was found abandoned in a Phuket city canal, news reports said. Noppadon
told police he was paid 50,000 baht to drive the motorcycle, and identified the
alleged gunman as Sanya Klinchum.
Phuket Police Maj. Gen. Chanasit Wattanawarangkul was quoted
in local press reports as saying that investigators had sought arrest warrants
for Sanya, along with two individuals accused of plotting the killing: Somkuan
Deepan and Assadakorn Sidokbuab. News reports described Assadakorn as a Chamber
of Commerce official and owner of KPP Cable TV. No arrests were immediately
made, according to the reports.
Chanasit said that Wisut was likely targeted for his
critical reporting. Wisut had reported on a series of controversial land claims
for Inside Phuket. He was also a political activist with the United
Front Against Dictatorship for Democracy, which is aligned with Thailand’s
ruling Peua Thai political party.