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Posts Tagged ‘Thaksin’

Thaksin to increase activities ahead of Thai polls: party

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 2:28 pm

BANGKOK, Oct 14, 2010 (AFP) – Thailand’s fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is preparing to step up his political activities from exile ahead of elections next year, his party said Thursday.


In a video link to a meeting of the opposition Puea Thai Party on Wednesday, the former billionaire telecoms tycoon offered his assistance in the poll battle, said spokesman Prompong Nopparit.


“He said he is ready to give advice about economic problems, advice to candidates during campaigns and advice about party policies,” Prompong said.


By law Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva must hold an election by the end of 2011.


Thaksin, who lives abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption, drew wide support from Thailand’s rural poor during office but was deposed by a military coup in 2006 and faces allegations of corruption and abuse of power.


He has been in self-imposed exile but still commands the loyalty of thousands of supporters, including many members of the “Red Shirt” opposition movement behind mass street protests in Bangkok in April and May.


Thai courts have issued a series of arrest warrants for Thaksin for charges including terrorism — an accusation linked to the violent street rallies. The authorities have accused him of bankrolling the protests and inciting unrest.


Thaksin has said the terrorism charges are “politically motivated”.


In his push for a return to Thailand, he has regularly used video messages to encourage fans but his broadcasts diminished during the April-May protests, which left 91 people dead in clashes between troops and demonstrators.


Prompong said he expected Thaksin to address the party “only at appropriate times.”


“He hasn’t spoken much recently because he wants reconciliation. He does not want this government to be suspicious about him,” the spokesman said.

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Source: SGGP

Thailand will ask Interpol to seek Thaksin arrest: deputy PM

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Thailand accuses Thaksin of stoking deadly unrest

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2010 at 9:37 am

The Thai government accused ousted former leader Thaksin Shinawatra of stoking deadly weekend unrest as pressure mounted Tuesday on the embattled prime minister over the crippling political crisis.


In an outspoken tirade in Washington, Thailand‘s Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya described Thaksin as a “terrorist” and directly blamed him for Saturday’s unrest in the streets of Bangkok that left 21 people dead.


“Everyone is washing their hands but he is a bloody terrorist,” Kasit said of Thaksin, likening him to past “elected” leaders such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini.


He said Thaksin was an “instigator of the violence,” the bloodiest civil unrest in the kingdom in two decades, and said he was financing the Red Shirts “to the tune of about 100 million baht (about three million dollars) per day.”

Red Shirt supporters of the recent anti-government protests sleep on the ground near the site of the continueing rallies in central Bangkok, on April 13.

The international community is voicing increasing alarm over the political turmoil which turned deadly after a month of mass street protests by the “Red Shirts” seeking to oust Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.


Thai deputy premier Trirong Suwannakiri, who was also in Washington, even warned that if the crisis raged out of control, the army could intervene.


The military has a duty to “take care of the country and restore order,” he said, cautioning that such action could be a “worst case scenario” in a country that has witnessed 18 coups since 1932. Related article: Tourists shaken


Abhisit’s future is looking precarious after the Election Commission called for the abolition of his ruling Democrat Party over allegations of illegal political donations — a move that could trigger the government’s collapse. Related article: Thai PM running out of options


A government led by Thaksin’s allies was brought down by a court ruling in 2008 which dissolved the then ruling party, more than two years after Thaksin was ousted in a bloodless coup after protests by the rival “Yellow Shirts.”


The commission’s move was hailed by the Reds, who draw their support largely from Thailand’s rural poor community and are pushing for new elections and the ouster of Abhisit’s government, which they charge is illegitimate and elitist.


A ruling on the commission recommendations could take months as they must first be assessed by the attorney general before being sent to the constitutional court.


And a Reds leader, Nattawut Saikuar, said their goals remained unchanged.


“We will achieve our goal when Abhisit dissolves parliament,” he told reporters. “We want him to dissolve the House and have new elections, so people will decide the government.”


The foreign minister said he expected a negotiated resolution to the crisis and even touched on the highly sensitive role of the monarchy in the future political life of the country.


“I do not know the outcome but I remain optimistic that we will be able to have the yellow, the red, the blue, the pink and the white coming to the negotiating table in the course of the next few days,” Kasit said, referring to the different factions.


“It is a process we have to go through and we should be brave enough to talk about even the taboo subject of the institution of the monarchy.”


Thaksin has been living in exile, mainly in Dubai, since 2006 to avoid a jail term for corruption at home.


Abhisit, who also blamed “terrorists” for Saturday’s violence, insisted that the government remained united in how to tackle a crisis that has dealt a heavy blow to businesses in the capital and to the vital tourist sector.

He offered during talks last month to hold elections by the end of 2010 — one year ahead of schedule — but protesters insist on immediate polls.

Army chief Anupong Paojinda also said on Monday that he was in favour of dissolving parliament.

“We must return to politics to solve the problem,” Anupong told reporters, suggesting that he was reluctant to use force again to put down the protests after the weekend bloodshed.

Seventeen civilians, including a Japanese cameraman, and four soldiers were killed after the army launched a crackdown on the Thaksin supporters. Related article: Protesters’ funeral parade

US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said they were “deeply saddened” by the violence and called for both the opposition and the government to return to the negotiating table after the failure of talks late last month.

Thailand’s financial markets are closed from Tuesday to Thursday for public holidays as the country marks its new year.

Source: SGGP

Thaksin departs, Cambodia-Thai relations in trouble

In World on November 14, 2009 at 10:31 am

Fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra left Cambodia on Saturday, ending a contentious four-day visit that deepened a diplomatic crisis between the neighbours.








Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) talks to former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (L) in Siem Reap province, some 314 kilometers northwest of Phnom Penh on November 14, 2009 before Thaksin was due to leave Cambodia. (AFP Photo)

Thaksin, who was toppled by a military coup in 2006 and is living abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption in Thailand, departed the tourist hub Siem Reap by private jet, Cambodia’s deputy cabinet minister Prak Sokhon confirmed.


Officials would not disclose his destination. Thaksin has travelled widely since leaving Thailand for exile in August last year, but has based himself in Dubai, while continuing to have a major influence in politics in his homeland.


His visit, to take up a new role as economic adviser to the Cambodian government, created a diplomatic storm between the already bickering nations.


Bangkok was outraged by the appointment and ties plummeted further when Cambodia refused to extradite him to Thailand on the grounds that his graft conviction was politically motivated.


Both countries recalled their respective ambassadors and Thaksin hit out at the Thai government during an economic lecture in the capital Phnom Penh, accusing Thai rulers of “false patriotism”.


Before his morning departure, Thaksin chatted at a hotel with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, a close ally, and political supporters who had travelled from Thailand to meet him.


Some 50 members of parliament from Thailand’s main pro-Thaksin party, Puea Thai, waved him off as his plane left the airport.


Cambodia enflamed the row Thursday when it arrested a Thai man in Phnom Penh on charges of spying on Thaksin and expelled the first secretary to Thailand’s embassy.


Thailand reciprocated, expelling Cambodia’s first secretary from Bangkok.


Siwarak Chothipong, 31, who works for the Cambodia Air Traffic Service, is accused of supplying the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh with details of Thaksin’s flight schedule, according to Cambodian police.


Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to Thailand’s foreign minister, said the ministry had submitted a request to visit the detained suspect, which Cambodia’s interior ministry confirmed it was considering.


“We have to see him, whatever happens,” Chavanond said. “Thailand categorically denies all of the spy allegations.”


Hun Sen, who had personally invited Thaksin to Cambodia, has strongly defended his friendship with Thaksin and even played a round of golf with him in Siem Reap on Friday.


Thailand has put all talks and cooperation programmes with Cambodia on hold, torn up an oil and gas exploration deal signed during Thaksin’s time in power and placed under review two road-building projects worth 42 million dollars.


Chris Baker, a Bangkok-based political analyst who wrote a biography of Thaksin, said the visit had stoked a “dangerous” row between the two countries, adding Hun Sen would be unwise to fuel it further.


“If Hun Sen wants to take it further it’s very easy indeed, but I can’t see at the moment what the utility for him would be,” said Baker.


“I think he’s got it just where he wants it.”


Tensions were already high between the two countries following a series of deadly military clashes over disputed territory near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple on their border.


The row comes during a weekend summit of regional leaders with US President Barack Obama, although Cambodia’s foreign ministry said Friday it did not want the dispute raised during the historic meeting.


Twice-elected Thaksin fled Thailand in August 2008, a month before a court sentenced him to two years in jail in a conflict of interest case.


He had returned to Thailand just months earlier for the first time since the coup in 2006.


He has retained enormous influence in Thai politics by stirring up protests against the current government, and analysts said that in Hun Sen he had found a new way to push for a return to power.


 


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Thaksin slams Thai govt in Cambodia speech

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2009 at 10:26 am

Fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra accused his country’s rulers of “false patriotism” as he delivered a lecture in his new role as Cambodia’s economic adviser Thursday.


The billionaire, ousted in a 2006 coup and living abroad to avoid jail for graft, addressed some 300 members of business and government at Cambodia’s finance ministry amid tensions over Phnom Penh’s refusal to extradite him.


“I see a lot of synergy between your country and mine. What is good for you will also be good for my country. Of course not all my compatriots see it that way right now,” Thaksin said.


“I do not believe those who do not share our vision right now are myopic. Their domestic political compulsions force them to false patriotism. Let’s pray that they too will one day appreciate this partnership for the best,” he added.


Security officials ushered reporters out of the room three minutes into the Thaksin lecture titled, “Cambodia and the World after the Financial Crisis”.








Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (left) and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen give a press conference in Cambodia.

Cambodia outraged Thailand on Wednesday by rejecting its request to extradite Thaksin, saying the charges on which the ousted Thai leader had been sentenced in absentia to two years in prison were politically motivated.


Cambodian Finance Minister Keat Chhon praised Thaksin’s reduction of rural poverty and introduction of universal healthcare in Thailand as “eye-catching policies that distinguished him from his predecessors”.


After his lecture Thaksin planned to visit the famed Angkor Wat temple and may play golf with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, said cabinet spokesman Phay Siphan.


He has been warmly received by close ally Hun Sen, although Cambodian officials have said he will only stay in the country for two or three days and is not intending to live there. Profile: Thaksin’s political life


When Thai diplomats handed over papers for Thaksin’s extradition on Wednesday, Cambodian officials promptly handed them back a formal refusal letter.


In Bangkok, around 120 protesters and 30 taxi drivers with their vehicles rallied outside the Cambodian embassy and delivered an open letter telling Hun Sen not to interfere in Thailand’s judiciary, police said.


Dozens of police were deployed at the building.


Thailand and Cambodia recalled their ambassadors last week as the quarrel escalated. Bangkok also put all talks and cooperation programmes on hold and tore up an oil and gas exploration deal signed during Thaksin’s time in power.


Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Wednesday condemned Cambodia’s refusal to send Thaksin back, and said he had halted aid programmes for the neighbouring country, which is still impoverished after decades of war.


Tensions were already high between the two nations following a series of clashes over disputed territory near an ancient temple and the row threatens to mar a weekend summit of regional leaders with US President Barack Obama.


Twice-elected Thaksin fled Thailand in August 2008, a month before a court sentenced him to two years in jail in a conflict of interest case. He had returned to Thailand just months earlier for the first time since the coup.


But he has retained huge influence in Thai politics by stirring up protests against the current government, and analysts said that in his close friend Hun Sen he had found a new way of pushing his campaign for a return to power.


Thailand’s government upped the pressure on Thaksin this week by accusing him of offending the revered monarchy after he was quoted by the website of British newspaper The Times as calling for reform of royal institutions.

Defaming the monarchy, led by 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is a crime punishable by up to 15 years in jail in Thailand. The king has been in hospital since September with a lung and chest infection.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Cambodia refuses to extradite Thailand’s Thaksin

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2009 at 11:04 am

PHNOM PENH, Nov 11, 2009 (AFP) – Cambodia on Wednesday rejected Thailand’s request to extradite Thaksin Shinawatra, inflaming tensions over Phnom Penh’s appointment of the fugitive former Thai premier as an economic adviser.


Billionaire Thaksin, who was toppled in a bloodless coup in 2006 and lives abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption, arrived in Cambodia on Tuesday and received a warm welcome from Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.








In this handout photo provided by the Prime Minister office, former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (R) sits with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (L) at a house that Hun Sen prepared for Thaksin in Phnom Penh on November 10, 2009 (AFP)

Thai diplomats gave extradition papers to officials at Cambodia’s foreign affairs ministry early Wednesday but were then handed back a note from Phnom Penh denying their request, an AFP reporter saw.


“Our diplomatic note answering them is nothing beyond rejecting the extradition request,” Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told AFP shortly before the exchange of letters.


Cambodia had repeatedly vowed to refuse any request from its larger neighbour for the extradition of Thaksin, saying that the charges levelled against him in Thailand were politically motivated.


“Thaksin’s conviction is caused by the coup in September 2006, when he was the prime minister of Thailand whom Thai people voted in with an overwhelming majority in accordance with democracy,” Hor Namhong said.


Tensions are already running high between the two countries following a series of clashes over a temple on their border and the row threatens to mar a weekend summit of Southeast Asian leaders with US President Barack Obama.


In Bangkok, Thailand’s foreign ministry said it was waiting for official confirmation from the embassy in Phnom Penh that Cambodia had denied its request and “will consider the next measures to take”.


Thailand and Cambodia recalled their ambassadors from each other’s countries last week after Thaksin’s appointment, and this week the Thai cabinet agreed to cancel an oil and gas exploration deal with Cambodia signed under Thaksin.


Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has threatened to tear up the extradition treaty with Cambodia if it refuses to send Thaksin home to face justice.


Thaksin is due to give a speech to 300 Cambodian economics experts on Thursday. Cambodian officials have said he will stay in the country for two or three days but is not intending to live there.


In a posting on micro-messaging website Twitter, Thaksin said that on Wednesday he would “discuss with Hun Sen about Cambodia’s problems and its relations with Thailand, to improve understanding and find mutual ways to benefit our two countries.”


Twice-elected Thaksin fled Thailand in August 2008, a month before a court sentenced him to two years in jail in a conflict of interest case. He had returned to Thailand just months earlier for the first time since the coup.


But he has retained huge influence in Thai politics by stirring up protests against the current Thai government, and analysts say that in his close friend Hun Sen he had found a new way of pushing his campaign for a return to power.


Thailand’s government upped the pressure on Thaksin this week by accusing him of offending the revered monarchy after he was quoted by the website of British newspaper The Times as calling for reform of royal institutions.


Defaming the monarchy, led by 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is a crime punishable by up to 15 years in jail in Thailand. The king has been in hospital since September with a lung and chest infection.


Cambodian state television late Tuesday showed Thaksin and Hun Sen embracing, reporting that the Cambodian leader pronounced him an “eternal friend.”


Thaksin also planned to visit Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat temple during his trip, television said.


Cambodia and Thailand have fought several deadly skirmishes over another ancient monument, the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple, since it was granted UNESCO World Heritage Status in July 2008.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Thailand’s Thaksin arrives in Cambodia for tense visit

In World on November 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra landed in Cambodia Tuesday to start a job as government economic adviser, escalating an already huge diplomatic row between the two countries.








Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (C) walks to a car at the Phnom Penh military air base on November 10, 2009. (AFP Photo)

Thaksin, who was ousted in a coup in 2006, exited a small private airplane at Phnom Penh International Airport and was then escorted into the capital by a convoy of cars under tight security, said an AFP photographer.


Cambodia announced Thaksin’s appointment last week, sparking a dispute that has led Thailand and Cambodia to recall their respective ambassadors and has deepened tensions after a series of deadly border clashes in the past year.


Thailand has also said it could seal the frontier if Thaksin is not extradited, but Cambodian ministry of foreign affairs spokesman Kuoy Kong said his country was “not concerned about these issues”.


“We will not extradite him (Thaksin). We already clarified this case because he is a political victim,” Kuoy Kong told AFP Tuesday.


Billionaire telecoms mogul Thaksin is living in foreign locations including Dubai to avoid a two-year jail term for abuse of power handed down by a Thai court in absentia in September 2008.


He justified his trip to Cambodia — whose prime minister Hun Sen is a close friend and political ally — in an open letter published on his website late Monday.


“As I travel to Cambodia to discuss poverty and the world economic situation, I will try to preserve Thai interests with our friends in Phnom Penh, despite the Thai government still hounding me wherever I go,” he wrote.


“I will not go to Cambodia to help Cambodia fight with Thailand but to exchange views and experiences on poverty-solving as well as new regional economics.”


Thaksin, the former owner of Manchester City football club, is due to give a a speech to hundreds of Cambodian economics experts in the capital on Thursday. He has not said how long he will be in Phnom Penh.


The Thai government said it had not been officially informed of Thaksin’s arrival in Cambodia. “We want to verify the report first,” Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to Thailand’s foreign affairs minister, told AFP.


Thaksin won two elections and remains a massively influential figure in Thai politics, stirring up mass protests by so-called “Red Shirt” supporters against the current government.


His presence on Thailand’s doorstep is the closest he has come since he last fled the country in August 2008, a move that is likely to alarm the shaky 11-month-old coalition government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.


Thaksin’s visit also threatens to take the shine off a summit of Southeast Asian leaders with US President Barack Obama that Abhisit is due to chair on Sunday in Singapore.


Thailand remains bitterly divided between Thaksin’s main support base among the poor, especially in rural areas, and his foes in the Bangkok-based elite power circles of the palace, military and bureaucracy.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Thailand approves tough laws for Thaksin coup rally

In World on September 15, 2009 at 5:14 pm

BANGKOK, Sept 15, 2009 (AFP) – Thailand’s cabinet agreed Tuesday to invoke harsh security laws allowing the deployment of troops for protests this weekend on the third anniversary of a coup against former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.








Thai soldiers patrol a check security at Government House in Bangkok on September 15, 2009 (AFP photo)

The move raises tensions ahead of the planned mass rally on Saturday in Bangkok by the “Red Shirt” movement, which wants current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to quit and call fresh elections.


Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the Internal Security Act would be in force from Friday until Tuesday in the centre of the capital “as the demonstration is likely to turn into political chaos.”


“This law will both ensure the safety of protesters and allow us to control the situation. Police will be the core force with the military acting as assistants, but the number of forces depends on the situation,” he said.


The act will effectively ban protests in Bangkok’s historic Dusit district, which is home to several potential flashpoint locations including Parliament and Government House, where the cabinet offices are located.


The protest comes a day before Abhisit is due to leave for the United States for the UN General Assembly and the G20 summit. Thaksin was toppled by the military in 2006 while he was away at the UN.


The Red Shirts have twice called off previous rallies in recent weeks after the government invoked the act, but they vowed to go ahead with this weekend’s demonstration.


“Unarmed and peaceful protest is guaranteed under the constitution. The government has no need to be afraid of this demonstration,” Jatuporn Prompan, one of the movement’s senior leaders, told AFP.


In April similar Red Shirt protests spiralled into riots which forced the cancellation of a major Asian summit and led to mass unrest in Bangkok, leaving two people dead and 123 injured.


The Red Shirts backed down on that occasion after troops threatened to use force, but they have recently reignited their campaign by lodging a petition with the king last week for a royal pardon for Thaksin.


Thaksin fled the country a year ago to escape a two-year jail term for corruption, but the divide between his supporters and his foes continues to cause turmoil in the kingdom.


Source: SGGP