Thai journalist shoots three rivals, then self

A journalist in northeastern Thailand sprayed rival reporters with bullets over allegations of bribe-taking.

A journalist in northeastern Thailand sprayed rival reporters with bullets over allegations of bribe-taking.

He killed three of them before ending his own life with a bullet in the forehead, police said today.

Three other journalists and a lawyer were wounded in the shooting on a floating restaurant late Sunday in Mukdahan, 400 miles northeast of Bangkok, Police Captain Sombat Sripon, a provincial police officer, said.

An 11mm calibre pistol was found by the side of the attacker, Paibul Boontod, 58, president of the Mukdahan provincial journalists’ association, Sombat said.

One of the dead men was Suchart Chanchanawiwat, an editor of Chao Mukdahan (Mukdahan People), a local bi-weekly newspaper which had published several articles accusing an unidentified group of local journalists of bribe-taking and extortion.

The report had caused a deep conflict between two groups of journalists in the province, who were holding a reconciliation meeting at the restaurant on the bank of the Mekong River to end the dispute, Sombat said.

The other dead men were Setha Sareerawat, a reporter for Naew Na newspaper and Channel 3 television, and Somboon Saenwiset, who worked for Daily News newspaper. Paibul reported for Thai Rath newspaper and Channel 7 television.

Two of the journalists died at the restaurant. Paibul and one other died later in the hospital from their injuries.

Thailand has one of the most active and free presses in Southeast Asia, but intimidation of reporters and corruption remains a serious problem, particularly in the provinces.

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