Gunmen kill three Saudi diplomats


BANGKOK, Thailand -- Three Saudi Arabian diplomats, including the Saudi charge d'affairs in Bangkok, were shot and killed Thursday in two separate but almost simultaneous street attacks, police said.

Police Maj. Bandit Panitsupapon said the three were gunned down in central Bangkok in incidents less than a mile apart. There were believed to be two shooters, one an Arab and the other a Thai, police said.


'No arrests have been and we can only speculate that the motive was a conflict of interest,' Bandit said.

He said several witnesses to the shootings were being interviewed by police.

Abdullah H. Al-Shubaili, charge d'affairs at the Saudi Arabian Embassy, was gunned down in front of his residence in Bangkok, Bandit said. He was shot four times.

Police sources said Abdullah had been due to leave for home Friday with his pregnant wife. They said his wife found her husband's body as she returned home in a car.

The other two men, identified as attaches Ahmad Al-shef and Fahad Al-bahli, were shot on a side street nearby, police said.

In Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian governemnt condemned the killings as a 'suspicious act of terrorism' and demanded the Thai government find the killers and punish them.


'Saudi Arabia reiterates its categorical condemnation of such a suspicious act of terrorism, which has no target except saturating the appetite of killing and bloodshed,' a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement broadcast over state-run Radio Riyadh.

The spokesman said the Arab kingdom 'demands that the Thai government shoulder its full responsibilities by divulging the culprits, and inflicting on them a just punishment.'

Convicted murderers in the Arab kingdom usually face execution by beheading.

Fahad was killed with a single shot to the forehead and Ahmad had four bullet wounds, he said.

Police said witnesses described one of the gunmen as a Thai and the other as a pale-skinned man who appeared to be of Arab origin.

Interior Minister Banharn Silapa-acha said all departing flights at Bangkok airport are being checked to prevent the killers from leaving the country.

'We need some time but I am confident the police will find the killers,' he said.

He refused to speculate on the motive for the murders.

Police Chief Sawaeng Thirasawath, however, told reporters he suspected the murder was related to the killing of another Saudi diplomat in January last year.

He said the murder weapons, small caliber pistols, and the methods of the killers were similar.


In that incident, third secretary Abdullah Al-Malik was fatally shot in the head as he walked on a Bangkok sidewalk.

Police later arrested a professional killer and charged him with the murder. A Thai overseas labor broker was also arrested in connection with the case.

Police said they believed the killing was motivated a conflict over visas for laborers being sent to Saudi Arabia by the broker.

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