Former Thai prime minister-turned-fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra was spotted in Malaysia recently, but escaped before he could be arrested by authorities there, Thai Deputy Interior Minister Thaworn Sennian claimed Monday.
Thaworn told reporters in the southern province of Pattani that Thai Embassy officials had informed Malaysian authorities that Thaksin was staying at the Shangri-La Hotel.
“Thai officials informed Malaysian authorities about Thaksin’s presence there.
“Somehow, Thaksin managed to get wind of the impending arrest and managed to escape,” he said.
However, he did not provide any information on when the alleged incident took place.
According to Thaworn, Thaksin later left for Fiji.
The policeman-turned telecommunication billionaire ruled the country from 2001 to 2005 before he was ousted in a military coup on Sept 19, 2006 while he was attending the United Nations General Assembly.
He came back briefly last year, after his allies won the December, 2007 general election, but remained in exile to escape the two-year jail imposed on him for abuse of power.
Two prime ministers aligned to him were forced out of office and their party lost power to a coalition led by Democrat Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Thaksin has been shuttling between his exile homes in London, Dubai, Hong Kong and recently, Germany, using various passports of other countries after his passport was cancelled by the Thai Government.
By D. Arul Rajoo
Fugitive Thaksin reportedly visits Malaysia : Thai interior ministry
Fugitive and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has reportedly visited Malaysia before leaving for Fiji, Deputy Interior Minister Thaworn Senneam said Monday.
Thaworn said he understood Thaksin went to Malaysia on Saturday and left on Sunday.
However, his reasons for going to Malaysia are not known, and, Thaworn said, the report was unconfirmed. Police are verifying it.
Thaksin left Malaysia before Thai police could take action, Thaworn said. It remained the responsibility of the police, attorneygeneral and the Foreign Ministry to get Thaksin back to serve the convictions against him, he said.
The deputy interior minister said the government was not worried by reports Thaksin was in Thailand’s neighbourhood.
By Piyanart Srivalo
Thaworn: Thaksin nearly arrested
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra narrowly escaped arrest in Kuala Lumpur, slipping out of his hotel ahead of police and flying to the Pacific Island country of Fiji, Deputy Interior Minister Thaworn Sennian said in Pattani province on Monday.
Mr Thaworn said the Malaysian government had cooperated with Thailand in planning to arrest the fugitive former prime minister on learning of he was staying at the Shangri-la Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
But Thaksin was vigilant enough to escape arrest and caught a plane to Fiji.
The minister did not reveal when this happened.
Foreign Ministry seeks cooperation from Fiji to extradite Thaksin
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has lodged an official request to the Pacific island country of Fiji to extradite fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, said the ministry was preparing to seek cooperation from Fiji in extraditing Mr Thaksin after Deputy Interior Minister Thaworn Senneam confirmed that the self-exiled former prime minister had escaped his arrest in Malaysia and fled to the island nation.
Mr Chavanond pointed out that Fiji was a part of the Commonwealth of the United Kingdom and thus had an extradition treaty with Thailand, which will enable diplomatic cooperation between the 2 countries in bringing back the ex-premier.