Pattaya Mail turns 12

Vol. XIII No. 45
Friday November 11 - November 17, 2005

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern



Dark powers and deadly deeds

By Suchada Tupchai

AThe vicious murder of Santi Lammaneenil, a Channel 7 special reporter who also worked for many other central news agencies, shames Pattaya and shames the nation. Police and all concerned parties are working together to bring the culprit or culprits to justice. The greatest challenge of course is to the police, and whether they can do it remains to be seen.

Government policy under the leadership of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra directs Royal Thai Police headquarters to wipe out the “influential” ones, particularly those who hire thugs and hit men to remove those inconvenient to them. But the vicious killings still happen. Pattaya in the space of less than two weeks has seen several revenge shootings even though the policies are in existence. In each region the dark powers still exist and continue to make decisions based on their own laws.

This is not the first time that a news reporter has been murdered in Pattaya. Manop Maneechan, a Channel 3 reporter assigned to cover Pattaya was killed by a dark powers decision two years ago, but the story soon died down. The killer was arrested but there wasn’t enough evidence, making everyone suspect that the dark powers still exist and continue to control official powers leaving them unable to fight back.

The government is creating a force that will suppress the criminally influential, but many have escaped the blacklist whether through influence or virtue. So the influential ones that the government has said it will wipe out are still around and continue to carry out the same crimes. The situation is unclear. The government says that the “same groups” commit the crimes, but how the authorities deal with those “same groups” is unknown and nothing has been solved.

The passing of Santi Lammaneenil is a great challenge to the abilities of the police who are looking for the dark hands that killed him, and to reveal the truth to the public rather than just allow this to be one more story that will fade away with its ending unknown. The crime was audacious. A reporter died because he reported news that upset the influential. Sanit cannot be allowed to die in vain.

In memory of Santi Lammaneenil, the elder brother of all Pattaya reporters, gone but not forgotten … or silenced.

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