Chalerm denies gun attack link

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has denied involvement in Saturday's gun attack on four cars belonging to the ASTV Manager newspaper.

Mr Chalerm was the focus of media attention yesterday after Jittanart Limthongkul, ASTV-Manager Group's chief executive officer, said a close aide to a powerful figure connected to the police force could have been involved in the attack.

The deputy prime minister said he had nothing to gain from the attack and has never harboured any ill-will toward yellow-shirt leader Sondhi Limthongkul, the founder of the ASTV-Manager Group.

He vowed to pursue the investigation but said solving it would be a challenge because the company is involved in many disputes.

"It will be a difficult case to solve because there are many possible suspects," he said. The attack took place at the company's offices near Santi Chaiprakan Park on Phra Athit Road. An unknown number of gunmen fired shots at four cars parked in front of the offices. No one was hurt in the shooting.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday condemned the attack and said she had ordered city police chief Pol Lt Gen Kamronwit Thoopkrachang to speed up the investigation.

"We don't want anything like this to happen, especially at media outlets," Ms Yingluck said when asked if the attack was an attempt to intimidate the media.

Deputy city police chief Pol Maj Gen Prinya Chansuriya said police had almost finished questioning witnesses.

A re-enactment of the shooting should shed some more light, Pol Maj Gen Prinya said. The re-enactment was held about 3am yesterday.

He said a possible suspect was captured on CCTV but has yet to be identified so no arrest warrant can be sought at this stage. Police were ordered to examine more CCTV footage to gather further leads and evidence.

Pol Maj Gen Wicharnwat Borirakkul, commander of Metropolitan Police Division 1, said a ballistics report was expected soon.

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Writer: Patsara Jikkham
Position: Reporter