Hong Kong is close to agreeing on an extradition treaty with Thailand that could be used to send ousted prime minster Thaksin Shinawatra back home, a news report said Sunday.
Talks are at an advanced stage over the wide-ranging treaty which could affect regular visitor Thaksin, facing a two-year jail sentence for corruption in Thailand, according to the Sunday Morning Post.
News of the discussions comes as Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva threatened to seek China’s help to extradite Thaksin when he announced plans to deliver a speech last month at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Hong Kong.
Thaksin cancelled the appearance, saying he did not want to damage Sino-Thai relations, but plans to deliver his address Thursday from outside Hong Kong via a satellite video link.
China has an extradition treaty with Thailand but Hong Kong, a British colony until 1997, has no such arrangement, effectively making the wealthy city of 7 million a safe haven for Thaksin.
Talks have been continuing for some time over a possible treaty, however, and have been speeded up in the past year, according to legal sources quoted by the Post.
A draft treaty has already been finalized by Thailand, the sources said, and would have clear implications for Thaksin although the treaty does not relate to any specific case.
The Thaksin family owns a 308-square-metre home in Hong Kong bought three months ago in his youngest daughter’s name for almost 6 million US dollars but so far unoccupied, according to the newspaper.