Police to release sketch of gunman who killed Bhumjaithai canvasser

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BANGKOK, June 17 – Provincial police are releasing a sketch of the gunman who killed a key Bhumjaithai Party canvasser in Bangkok during the daytime Thursday, the latest victim of political violence ahead of July 3 general election.

Eyewitnesses described the gunman who shot Suban Chiraphanwanit to police artists Friday.

The chairman of the Lop Buri Administration Organisation was gunned down at point blank range in Trok Mayom near Khao San Road in Phra Nakhon district. His wife, Oraphin, and secretary Chanutphon Phothisamphanwong, accompanying him, were also shot and wounded.

Mr Suban was an elder brother of Mallika Chiraphanwanit, a Bhumjaithai constituency candidate in Lop Buri. The police initially believe that the motive for the shooting involved local and national politics.

Plainclothes police are gathering information in Bangkok and Lop Buri, and surveillance camera records in the area have been inspected. Police will convene a meeting Friday afternoon to examine evidence.

The latest killing occurred just after police warned that the use of violence has been on the rise in every area with multiple tactics, such as slander of rivals and using new media to attract eligible voters.

Samut Prakan, adjacent to the capital, was identified earlier this week as Thailand’s most likely province for political violence following the May 10 shooting of opposition Pheu Thai Party candidate Pracha Prasopdee, who sustained minor injuries.

Of 77 provinces nationwide, seven are considered ‘red zones’ with a high potential of violence and 21 provinces as ‘orange zones’  with a medium-risk of disorder, according to Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen, a senior police adviser.

Provincial Police, Region 5, in charge of the upper northern region, said 57 candidates including 17 Democrats and 13 from the Pheu Thai Party have sought police protection.

The Royal Thai Police earlier this month said a total of 228 candidates from 10 political parties requested police protection ahead of the upcoming election on July 3. (MCOT online news)