BANGKOK — Police say they have not established a clear motive behind yesterday’s murder of a pro-government activist and poet, although his fellow activists insist it was a political assassination.
"We haven't reached a conclusion about the motive," said Pol.Col. Thanawat Wattanakul, after meeting with investigation officers at Chokechai Police Station in Bangkok. "We suspect all motives, political and private matters."
Kamol Duangphasuk, aka Mai Nueng Gor Gunthee, was shot dead at point blank in a restaurant parking lot in Bangkok yesterday by two masked perpetrators who later sped away on a motorcycle, police said. Mr. Kamol was 45 years old.
A 28-year-old witness, who lives in a building opposite the crime scene, said he heard "4 to 5" shots from the parking lot and saw two suspects wearing balaclavas, each of them approximately 170 centimetres tall, speed away on a silver-coloured Honda Sonic motorcycle.
The witness said he could not make out the license plate number.
Pol.Col. Thanawat said police will study video footage of Mr. Kamol's recent appearances on rally stages and TV shows to see if he had possibly defamed or offended anyone, which could lead to a potential suspects.
However, Pol.Maj. Sangiam Samrarnrat, a Redshirt supporter and Mr. Kamol's co-host at the Redshirt-allied DNN channel, claimed that the murder was certainly driven by political reasons.
Pol.Maj. Sangiam blamed armed elements of the anti-government protesters and rogue military officers for engineering the assassination.
He nevertheless insisted that Mr. Kamol had refrained from provoking anyone throughout his career.
"Mai Neung liked to talk about history, sometimes going deep into national security issues, but he never identified anyone by name," Pol.Maj. Sangiam said. "His style is not aggressive. He is an artist, a poet. He talks deep and uses parables."
The pro-government police officer also urged his fellow Redshirts to protect themselves by whatever means possible.
"They can't hope to rely on the laws to protect their lives anymore," Pol.Maj. Sangiam said.
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