(cradit: Nation cartoon)
Close family members of fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra quietly left Thailand on a series of flights on Tuesday, PM’s Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey said on Wednesday.
Thaksin’s former wife Khunying Potjaman Damapong and their daughter Paethongtan flew to Hong Kong. Another daughter Pinthongtha departed to England. Their son Panthongtae headed for Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Thaksin’s brother-in-law and former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat also left the country, Mr Sathit said.
Government spokesman Panithan Wattanayakorn said he had been informed by the Immigration Bureau that some Shinawatra family members have left the country for Dubai, Hong Kong and London.
He said the government had nothing to do with their travels, They must be worried about their own safety or would like the public to believe it was not safe for them to remain in Thailand.
“Actually, there are no reasons why they should feel unsafe,” he said.
“The government has not done anything to cause them to feel it is not safe for them to stay in the country.”
Mr Somchai’s wife Yaowapa and Thaksin’s younger sister Yingluck, however, were seen in Bangkok showing their support for the red-shirt protesters.
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said he was not aware members of Thaksin’s close family had left the country, but they had the right to travel and he had no duty to track their movements.
Bangkok Post, April 8, 2009
Thaksin’s close family leaves Thailand
The three children and several other close family members of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra have left Thailand ahead of the mass rally Wednesday, sources said.
The source said Paetongtan Shinawatra, Thaksin’s youngest daughter, and Thaksin’s ex-wife, Pojaman Damapong, left on Cathay Pacific’s Flight CX750 to Hong Kong Monday’s night.
Also in the same night, Pintonta Shinawatra, another daughter, left for England on Thai Airways International’s Flight TG910.
According the sources, Somchai Wongsawat, former prime minister and ex-brother-in-law of Thaksin, and Pantongtae Shinawatra, the son of Thaksin, left for United Arab Emirates on UAE Airlines’ Flight eX419 Tuesday night.
Thaksin’s children fly out
Fears of violence rise, but Yaowapa attends rally; denies anyone has left .
They were believed to have fled because of concerns about their safety in light of Thaksin’s bid to ramp up protests against the government and Privy Council, the source said.