Gunmen shot newspaper publisher in Thailand

Unidentified gunmen killed a newspaper publisher in Thailand, police said Tuesday, less than a week after another journalist was fatally shot in the country, and following attacks on others in the news media.

Abdulor Benmoohamat, 37, publisher of the biweekly Thin-Thai, died Monday night after four attackers opened fire on his car in the southern city of Sungai Lokok, said police Lt. Col. Waresamae Saleh. Waresamae said the killing was not linked to continuing violence involving Islamic insurgents in the south, but was likely related to a business dispute.

"The attack was motivated by personal conflict over an illegal business that the victim and attacker were involved in," he said. Two people have been detained by authorities but have not been charged, Waresamae said.

On Wednesday, Santi Lammaneenil, editor of the Pattaya Post and a correspondent for Thai television Channel 7, was found shot to death in his car. His hands were tied, and he had been reported kidnapped the day before.

The Paris-based journalists' advocacy group Reporters Without Borders on Friday sent Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra a letter urging an "impartial and exhaustive investigation" into Santi's death.

Last week, a small bomb was tossed into the office compound of a Bangkok newspaper publishing group's offices, causing minor damage but no casualties. Police said they were investigating the incident. Unidentified attackers shot and wounded another reporter, Manop Rattanacharungporn, earlier this year in the southern city of Phangnga. He had been writing about the illegal appropriation of state land, Reporters Without Borders said.

Thai journalists have also been targets of harassment and violence in the far south, where an Islamic separatist rebellion has left more than 1,100 people dead since January 2004, reports the AP. I.L.

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