Govt using all means to corner Thaksin

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Two passports confirmed, third might be Cambodian travel document

The government is taking every possible step to narrow the political space fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s has on the globe by using the Interpol and other diplomatic moves to corner him, a senior government official said yesterday.

Thaksin might be able to stay in Dubai, but United Arab Emirates will not allow him to use the gulf state as a launching PAD against the Thai government, said Vice Foreign Minister Panich Vikitsreth.

“The UAE government has told us that Thaksin could not use the country as his political base, but could return as an investor,” Panich said in an interview yesterday.

The UAE and Thailand are preparing an extradition treaty, he said, adding that Abu Dhabi had already sent a draft for consideration.

Asked if the government was aware of the movements being made by some former executives of the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party to meet Thaksin in Dubai, Panich said nobody could be barred from travelling abroad or meeting anybody.

“We don’t know where they are going and for what purpose, but they have the right because they are only banned from politics, not travel,” Panich explained.

Two weeks ago, the government told Interpol to blacklist Thaksin and arrest him if they can, he said.

Thai authorities have also sent arrest warrants against Thaksin to all concerned countries, he said.

In addition, the foreign ministry has informed all nations that have diplomatic relations with Thailand about Thaksin’s movements and the government’s concerns, he said.

Even though Thaksin’s Thai passports, both diplomatic and ordinary, were revoked the former premier continues moving around with foreign travel documents. Reports have confirmed that Thaksin is holding a Nicaraguan passport and has been made special ambassador by President Daniel Ortega.

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He was also said to have landed in Liberia last week with Montenegro passport and unconfirmed reports say he might also have a Cambodian passport. Since the foreign ministry has no clear information about Thaksin’s Cambodian passport, it could not take any action on the issue, Panich said.

However, he added, Phnom Penh as already been told about the government’s concerns over Thaksin’s political movements. “We are being very careful with the matter because relations with Cambodia are very sensitive,” he said.

However, Panich said, what passport Thaksin travels with is not important. He explained that as long as the former PM uses his own name, his appearance in any country would show up on Interpol’s radar and he will be under surveillance in host countries.

The government is closely monitoring Jakrapob Penkair’s movements, though his whereabouts are still unknown, Panich said. The Immigration Bureau has no records on Jakrapob’s departure, he said.

Jakrapob, a former spokesman for Thaksin, was charged of lese majeste and freed on bail.

By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
The Nation
Published on April 28, 2009

Thailand to sign extradition treaty with UAE in bid to apprehend Thaksin

The Thai government has received a draft extradition treaty from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and will co-sign it immediately after studying its details, a senior Thai official said on Monday.

Panich Vikitsreth, an assistant to the minister of foreign affairs, told journalists that ministry officials are studying the draft and will sign it without delay because the UAE also wanted Thailand to extradite some of its nationals being detained in this country as well.

Mr. Panich and Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot travelled to the UAE earlier this month and held talks with senior foreign ministry officials of that country. They reportedly conveyed the Thai government’s concerns regarding convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra using Dubai as his base in attacking the Thai government.

Ousted in a September 2006 coup d’etat, Mr. Thaksin, now living in self-imposed exile overseas, was believed to be in hiding in the UAE in recent weeks.

He was sentenced in absentia to two years imprisonment by a Thai court after he was found to have abused his power while prime minister by helping his then wife buy land in Bangkok’s prime business area at a
discounted price.

The government will closely watch Mr. Thaksin if he enters that country again because Thailand’s relations with the UAE are “very warm,” Mr. Panich said.

Mr. Panich said he did not know how many countries had issued passports to Mr. Thaksin, but that he had only heard that a “country in central America” had given a special passport to him on April 15.

The Thai Foreign Affairs Ministry had already revoked both his diplomatic and ordinary passports in an attempt to capture him.

Regarding Jakrapob Penkair, a leading member of the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD)  and also a staunch supporter of  Mr. Thaksin, who escaped arrest for allegedly
instigating unrest in Bangkok on April 13, Mr. Panich said he had checked a few days ago and found that Mr. Jakrapob had “not yet left the country.”

Mr. Jakrapob could have left the country without using his own passport, he said. Nevertheless, his whereabouts remains unknown. (TNA)

MCOT

 

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