ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Thailand's fugitive ex-PM free to travel around the world
Publication Date : 01-05-2012
Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was free to travel to many countries because they were aware court cases against him were politically motivated, the country's Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said yesterday.
Surapong said the former PM had travelled to China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and India. "I think he will next travel to the United States, soon. Things have returned to normal now," he said.
These countries understood that legal cases against Thaksin came after the coup that overthrew his government in 2006, he said.
The foreign minister said that unlike the previous Democrat-led administration, this government had no policy of seeking Thaksin's extradition to face legal action in Thailand.
"Unlike the last government, we have no time to hunt for one person. Today we look forward with hope [of making] Thailand grow further," he said.
However, Democrat spokesman Chavanont Intarakomalsut said yesterday the current Pheu Thai-led government had no sincerity in enforcing the law against Thaksin, who in 2008 was sentenced by the Supreme Court to two years jail for abuse of power.
"Do not expect this government to take any action against him because Thaksin is pulling strings behind it," Chavanont said.
He said the foreign minister could be regarded as committing dereliction of duty, and he warned the government would face legal action when it was no longer in power.
The Democrat spokesman said Thaksin could travel to any country including Thailand.
"Nobody prohibits Thaksin from returning to Thailand but he just does not want to come now," he said, referring to the fact Thaksin could face jail if he arrived home without first being granted an amnesty.
Meanwhile, Democrat deputy spokesperson Mallika Boonmeetrakul urged state agencies - the National Anti-Corruption Commission, Attorney-General's Office, and Department of Special Investigation - to resume investigation into cases against Thaksin in regard to allegations of corruption and alleged involvement with the unrest and riots in 2010.