The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has instructed the Thai embassy in Budapest, Hungary, to investigate claims that the Republic of Montenegro has issued a passport to the fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Responding to news that the government of Montenegro had issued a passport to Mr. Thaksin, a fugitive wanted by the Thai Government, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Panich Vikitsreth stated that he had been tasked by Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya to take charge of the investigation into the matter.
Mr. Panich added that the diplomatic ties between Thailand and the Southeast-European nation of Montenegro only began in 2007 and no embassies had yet been established. Therefore, he said the Thai government needed assistance from the Thai Ambassador to Budapest, Hungary, in probing whether such information on the passport issuance was based on facts.
As for news that Mr. Thaksin was looking to purchase a private island in Montenegro, the vice minister admitted that the fugitive was entitled to such action but affirmed that the Foreign Ministry was exercising all of its international relations to acquire information pertaining to Mr. Thaksin’s movements in order to bring him back for legal processing.
FOREIGN MINISTRY: Info sought on Thaksin’s Montenegro passport
Fugitive ex-PM reportedly bidding for near billion-baht island in east European state
The Foreign Ministry yesterday sought information about a Montenegro passport held by fugitive former prime minister Shinawatra Thaksin after a news report that he is bidding to buy a mortgaged island, which is also known as Hawaii, in Montenegro.
The ministry instructed the Thai embassy in Budapest to check the news report, Vice Foreign Minister Panich Vikitsreth said. No further information beyond media reports have been sent back to Bangkok so far.
Thailand established diplomatic relations with Montenegro in 2007 but does not have an embassy there. The embassy in Budapest takes care of affairs in Montenegro while Montenegro transacts business in Thailand through its Beijing embassy.
The media in Montenegro reported that Thaksin is interested in purchasing a part of Sveti Nikola Island near the coastal town of Budva at the initial price of ค21 million (Bt992 million).
Sveti Nikola, also known as Hawaii, is located less than a kilometre away from Budva and it has three sandy beaches spreading over 840 metres, according to Visit-Montenegro online.
Among potential buyers were some Englishmen, Russians, Belgians and Arabs, with Shinawatra Thaksin – who has a Montenegrin passport – also in the race, the media reported.
“It is still not known where [Thaksin] Shinawatra got a Montenegrin passport from,” the online report said.
At the first auction launched a couple of months ago, the Hawaii was offered at price of ค28 million.
The land, covering an area of more than 37,000 square metres has been offered for sale together with the existing facilities.
The public auction is scheduled for May 23 at the premises of the bank in Budva. The owner of the island is Serbian businessman Stanko Subotic, who is indebted to the bank.
Subotic purchased the most beautiful part of the island in 2007 from Nenad Djordjevic for over ค20 million.
After the purchase, Subotic announced big investment plans, which included connecting the island with the mainland, building hotels, villas, marina and additional facilities. But he was prevented from carrying out his plans after Serbia declared him a wanted person on suspicion of being involved in cigarette smuggling and thus causing damage to the country.
By The Nation
Published on May 13, 2009
Thaksin’s Adviser Confirms Ex-PM Has Montenegrin Passport
A personal adviser to fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra has confirmed that the Montenegrin government has issued a passport to Thaksin. However, he said he has no idea what type of passport Thaksin was given but added that Thaksin now has many passports thanks to his connections with leaders of many countries.
Thaksin’s adviser and ex-lawyer Noppadol Pattama confirmed reports that the government of Montenegro has issued Thaksin a passport.
However, Noppadol said he does not know whether Thaksin’s passport is a diplomatic passport or an ordinary one but added that Thaksin has other passports issued by various governments due to his connections with leaders of many countries.
The Thai government recently revoked Thaksin’s Thai passport. Thaksin has been sentenced to two years in prison for abuse of power while serving as prime minister.
Noppadol also confirmed a report that Thaksin is bidding to buy part of an island in Montenegro at a price of 21 million euros. He said Thaksin plans to develop the property into a tourist resort but he was not aware of the details.
Panich Vikitsreth, an assistant to the Foreign Minister, revealed that the Thai ambassador in Budapest, Hungary, has been tasked with verifying whether Thaksin has indeed received a Montenegrin passport.
Thailand established diplomatic relations with Montenegro near the end of 2007 but does not have an embassy there.
The Thai embassy in Budapest takes care of affairs in Montenegro while Montenegro does business in Thailand through its embassy in Beijing.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister’s Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey dismissed Thaksin’s recent prediction that the Abhisit government would not last longer than another month. Sathit said the government would continue to work to revive the economy and address the country’s other problems.