According to AFP, Wisut Tangwitthayaporn, 40, a Thai journalist, newspaper owner and political activist who published a periodical called Inside Phuket, was shot and killed by two gunmen on a motorcycle in Phuket earlier today (January 12).
News accounts reported that just after 0900 hours, two gunmen wearing sunglasses fired a 9 mm pistol through the windshield of Wisut's black Honda Jazz as he was waiting to make a turn on to a main road. His wife, Jiraporn Hosakul, was in the passenger seat and was unharmed in the attack. Wisut subsequently died at Vachira Hospital.
COMMENT: Wisut was the first to report on suspected fraud in the issuance of a title deed at Phuket's Freedom Beach, according to the news website Phuketwan. He was the leader of a community group that opposed the private use of part of the beach.
Wisut was also an activist with the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, known as "Red Shirts," a political group that formed in 2006 to oppose a military coup that overthrew former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Unfortunately, from my two assignments in Bangkok, I learned early on that while Thailand is often referred to as the "Land of Smiles," contract hits are a normal way of reconciling business disputes and eliminating rivals and adversaries.