Wednesday, August 15, 2007

News from Thailand

Amid all the alarming reports of arrest warrants being issued in Thailand it's worth pointing out that Thaksin has not actually been charged with any crime yet.

The warrants relate to an alleged abuse of power by Thaksin and his wife, Pojaman, regarding a £12.1m (772 million baht) land deal. According to The Guardian, Thailand’s Supreme Court issued them 'on the grounds that they had sought to evade corruption charges'.

The next court hearing is set for Sept 25, with the BBC reporting that 'Thailand's attorney-general and the prosecution have indicated that they could seek Mr Thaksin's extradition from the UK if he does not return'.

Whether their intent is to keep Thaksin out of the country during the elections that are planned for December is unclear, but a successful extradition appears to be highly unlikely at this stage.

Any request would fall under Part 2 of the Extradition Act 2003, which would require prima facie evidence to be presented. According to Wikipedia that means their case has to be 'self-evident from the facts'.

The new Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, would have to decide whether to pass the case to a judge, who would have to ensure it met the requirements of the 2003 Act before passing it back to her for the final decision.

According to the Guardian's south-east Asia correspondent, Ian MacKinnon, British law has no equivalent to the one Thaksin is being charged under, meaning the Thai authorities 'would have 'virtually no hope of success'. The Telegraph claimed that any extradition process would be 'fraught with potential embarrassment for the Thai junta', but revealed that if the Home Secretary passed the request to the courts Thaksin would be arrested before the case is heard.

The Thai authorities are certainly turning the screw on the former PM, yesterday announcing that it is also launching an investigation into the extra-judicial killings of suspected drug dealers in 2003.

But more startling Thaksin news comes from a new book called
Thaksin, Where Are You?. It reveals our new owner has been going on shopping trips with 20-year-old Thai pop star Lydia (pictured below).

It's claimed the two were introduced by Thaksin's son Panthongthae. According to this site Thaksin’s lawyer, Noppadol Pattama, has admitted that Lydia and Thaksin are ‘very close’ but claimed there was 'no hanky-panky' involved.

"She is like another daughter to him," Panthongthae told the Bangkok Post.

Which reminds me of a line from the late Bernard Manning during a gig he gave for Guy Ritchie and Madonna. 'Aren't you lovely," he told the singer. 'If you were my daughter I'd still be bathing you'.

Don't have a cow, man

Another blow to Thaksin was dealt by the Thai government's announcement that it is scrapping the One Million Cows project. The populist scheme was set up by Thaksin in 2005 with the aim of lending one million cows to farming families in three years, but to date only 21,684 calves had been distributed.

And in a final bit of animal-related Thai news, I found this bizarre story last week revealing that Thai police officers who break the rules are being made to wear a pink armband adorned with the Japanese cartoon character Hello Kitty.


Anonymous said...

A lovely article, nicely balanced and with good links. A complete contrast to the amount of lazy bullshit articles that have been floating about recently.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Have a look at another article on Thaksin and Man City by a Thailand based writer. Compares Thaksin's domestic policies with ones planned for Man City.

Andrew said...

Thanks. The reason I launched the site is that I was fed up with the poor quality of coverage City were getting in the media. And as a former newspaper man I know how lazy some journalists can be.

Nice link that. On a more serious note I think a study of Thaksin's political record might give us an insight into what he has in store for City. I suspect we might be in for a few surprises before long.

Anonymous said...

Very balanced. I'd like to share my opinion about thaksin as a Thai. I'm concerned that man city fan has to monitor this guy very closely. Some fans argue that thaksin won't get much money out of buying man city but his main purpose is LAUNDRY his money and football club is approximately the right size outlet he can laundry his corruption money with. People in Western Europe are quite unaware of the complex process of corruption in Thailand so I can see that they don't think corruption is a big deal in thaksin's case. In fact thaksin uses many nominees around the world to transfer his money out of Thailand and transfer it back in a totally new package. One of the examples is that thaksin tries to launch a mega project called suvarnbhumi city. This project is very grand and promises money from foreigners. In fact it's his money that he laundried through his nominees abroad and they transfers the money back in the form of investment from foreigners. Thaksin also kept saying that he was already rich before became premier but the fact is his corrupted money was deposited under his family members and acquaintaces' accounts. His siblings, siblings-in-law, cousins, even his maids and drivers are those whose accounts are filled with Thaksin's money. This way he can't be arrested.

He didn't even want man city in the first place. He was first interested in Fulham through Al-Fayed his friend. But it's not a high-profile enough club so he ventured for Liverpool but failed. Now the man city board ate the worm so thaksin finally found a place to laundry his money. Poor Man city fans are frustrated enough to grab any quick buck. They are being exploited. England is a perfect country for laundrying his money by exploiting the people's fanaticism about their club. Thaksin is a smart businessman and Thai scholars know this trick well. Free thai food and free show in albert square is enough to buy those frustrated fans in the same way that he used money to buy votes from poor people in Thailand. He's a businessman who knows what customers need, and nails the right point.

I never vote for him. But I have to admit that he was very good when he first came to power, with all those new policies. But later he was influenced by the bad entourages and was convinced he could be premier for the next 16 years, and that's the beginning of his doom. Good and famous ministers in his first cabinets resigned because they couldn't work with him any more. One of them is Dr. Kasem Wattanachai, the ex minister of education. After he resigned from the post and the party, he was appointed the King's privy councillor. My parents know him in person and I can tell you that he was very frustrated with Thaksin's change into an evil person. Thaksin was consumed by having too much power, and no one else has enough power to stop him. The coup was an evil necessity.