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Thai journalist killed in bomb attack

Chalee was killed by a car bomb that apparently targeted people arriving at the scene of a blast that occurred minutes earlier in the town of Sungai Kolok on the Malaysian border, according to local and international news reports. At least 30 people were injured in the second explosion, which occurred 20 minutes after a smaller motorcycle bombing that left no casualties, according to The Associated Press. The attacks, attributed to local insurgents in a region rife with Muslim separatist violence, occurred outside a restaurant near the local police station, news reports say.

Reports cited Thai TV Channel 9 as saying its reporter, Phadung Wannalak, was among those seriously injured. A rescue worker also died of his wounds on Friday, the reports said.   

"The death of Chalee Boonsawat on the job is a tragedy for his family and colleagues and we send them our condolences," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "Journalists in Thailand are targeted along with security forces and rescue workers when they are attacked at the site of breaking news."

Many in Thailand's predominantly Muslim southern provinces share an ethnicity and cultural heritage with neighboring Malays, unlike the country's Buddhist majority. A long-simmering separatist movement gained momentum in early 2004, leading to almost daily acts of violence, according to analysis in published reports.

CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit www.cpj.org.

 

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