Police have sought help from the Interpol unit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a search for fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who is believed to have been staying in that country.
The police move came after Pheu Thai Party MP Chalerm Yoobamrung admitted he had been to Dubai recently to visit Thaksin for three days.
Police Maj General Visanu Prasartthong-osot said the latest intelligence report showed Thaksin had not left the UAE, but police were checking if he had left the country under another name.
“We believe he is likely still in that country because it is not far from Thailand and he can use it as a base for his close aides to come and see him,” he said.
Visanu said he had submitted a request to the Attorney General’s Foreign Affairs office to seek the extradition of Thaksin, even though Thailand does not have an extradition treaty with the UAE. “We can ask for cooperation from the UAE since we had earlier helped them arrest and dispatch suspects wanted by them.”
After the court issued an arrest warrant for Thaksin, police stepped up pressure on him by asking Interpol police in 187 countries to help find and arrest him, he said. Thai police had been dispatched to countries Thaksin was believed to visit frequently such as Hong Kong, Nicaragua, Montenegro, Cambodia and the UAE.
Chalerm said he did not discuss politics or who would be the new party leader with Thaksin, but they talked about his well-being and his business. Thaksin told him he had bought an island in Montenegro to develop a real estate business, hoping to make billions of baht in profit by selling expensive mansions to Asian millionaires, following the success of Hawaii.
“Thaksin is living a good life in Dubai because the country highly honours him and has given him top security. The reports that said Thaksin is not welcome there are wrong. Dubai approved a visa for me 24 hours after I applied. Thaksin took me out shopping in malls and many people came to ask for his autograph and his picture,” he said.
Thaksin also won five goldmine concessions from a country in Africa, which had given him a special passport.
Responding to Chalerm’s revelation of his visit to Thaksin in Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said he had not made any progress getting Thaksin back because he had more important work to do, such as combating drugs and violence in the South.
By The Nation
Published on May 22, 2009
Police Find Fugitive Thaksin in UAE
The chief of the Immigration Police has sent the suspected location of fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to the Attorney-General to begin the extradition process.
The commissioner of the Immigration Police Bureau, Police Major General Vissanu Prasartthong-osot, said ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra reportedly entered the United Arab Emirates, or UAE, and has not left.
However, he said his bureau is trying to determine whether Thaksin might have left the country under another name. He said it has contacted the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, for assistance in the matter.
Police Major General Vissanu said he believed Thaksin is still in the UAE, reasoning that the country is not too far from Thailand, which would make it easy for his aides and associates to visit him.
He also forewarded a document to the Office of the Attorney-General’s foreign affairs department about Thaksin’s location for possible extradition proceedings.
Police Major General Vissanu said it was possible to extradite Thaksin from the UAE even though the two countries do not have an extradition treaty because Thai authorities previously extradited a fugitive to the UAE at its government’s request.
He revealed copies of the arrest warrant against Thaksin that has been forwarded to Interpol branches in 187 countries worldwide.
He also suggested that Thai police officers should be dispatched to the countries where Thaksin regularly visits, such as Cambodia, Hong Kong, Nicaragua and Montenegro, to facilitate extradition from those countries.
Police Major General Vissanu added that his bureau has received no request from the Special Branch Police asking for its translation of Thaksin’s English-language speeches concerning the monarchy.
The Special Branch recently decided to take legal action against Thaksin after its panel ruled that some parts of his interviews with foreign news media constituted lese majeste.