Bangkok grenade attacks hit Thai newspaper, court

AP News
Posted: Apr 25, 2014 3:23 AM

BANGKOK (AP) — Grenades hit the headquarters of a Thai newspaper and a court in Thailand's capital, police said Friday, as political tensions heat up ahead of a crucial court ruling over the fate of the prime minister. No one was hurt in the attacks.

The first grenade left a small crater and other minor damage outside a building in the Thai-language Daily News compound in northern Bangkok's Lak Si district on Thursday night, said Police Col. Kamthorn Auicharoen.

Another grenade Thursday night landed inside the gate of the Administrative Court in the city's northern outskirts, near an anti-government protest site, he said. It was not immediately clear whether the perpetrators were aiming at the court or at the protesters.

"Both attacks used the same type of weapons," Kamthorn said. "However, we have not been able to see the suspects from the CCTV footage."

The attacks came ahead of a court ruling expected in the coming weeks that could remove Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from her caretaker premiership. She is accused of abusing her position by removing the Council of National Security chief from his post in 2011.

The judiciary is seen as part of the Thai establishment, which has long been hostile to Yingluck's brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and lives overseas in self-imposed exile. Thaksin's supporters believe the country's elite felt their privileges threatened by Thaksin's popularity, especially among rural and underprivileged citizens who benefited from his populist programs.

The attack on the newspaper prompted condemnation from the Thai Journalists Association, which called it "a serious threat to the media." The Daily News headquarters was also attacked by two grenades in 2007, but no suspects were arrested.

Grenade attacks and shootings have occurred frequently in Bangkok since the anti-government protesters took to the streets in November, calling for Yingluck to step down from her caretaker post on grounds that she is corrupt and serving as a proxy for her brother Thaksin. More than 20 people have been killed and nearly 800 injured in protest-related incidents.

On Wednesday, a pro-government activist and poet who opposed a law punishing critics of Thailand's monarchy was fatally shot in northern Bangkok.