Pattaya Daily News

08 November 2008 :: 18:11:29 pm 40651

Thai Pm: No Comment on Britain Revoking Visas for Thaksin, Wife

CHIANG RAI, Nov 8 -- Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said Saturday it was the right of the British government to revoke the visas of convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Khunying Pojaman.
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Mr. Somchai, a brother-in-law of Mr. Thaksin, said he preferred not to talk about politics as he and his government wanted to concentrate on improving the livelihood of the Thai people and let concerned government agencies handle economic problems so that the economy could move forward.

Meanwhile, Thani Thongphakdi, deputy director of the Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Thailand was informed by the British government via its embassy in Bangkok that Britain had considered the revocation of their visa.

However, Mr. Thani said the details should be asked from the embassy and that Sompong Amornvivat, Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, has already been told about the move. Mr. Thani said that the British authorities had circulated a letter to airlines about the visa revocation.

The ministry did not know the present location of Mr. Thaksin and his wife, but in principle if their visa has been repealed they could no longer stay in UK.

Sirichoke Sopa, spokesman for the opposition Democrat Party’s shadow cabinet, showed journalists a copy of an email message sent by Bangkok-based British embassy official identified as Andy Gray, from the UK Border Agency, as instructing airlines which are members of the Airport Operations Committee that it has revoked visas issued to the couple.

The message said the couple should be prevented from boarding planes to Britain.

It is not necessary for the British embassy official to state reasons on revoking the visas, said Mr. Sirichoke.

The reason for revoking the visas probably stemmed from Mr. Thaksin’s live phone-in to his supporters during a gathering on November 1 in Bangkok in which he said he could not return to the kingdom from exile without a royal pardon, said Mr. Sirichoke.

No country would allow a person to use their country as a springboard for a political forum, he said, adding that it is the right time now for Mr. Thaksin to return to Thailand and fight his court cases which would also prove that the Thai judicial system is still fair.

He suggested that the Thai government should withdraw the Thai diplomatic passport issued to Mr. Thaksin in order to prevent him from traveling to countries which have diplomatic relations with Thailand.

Mr. Thaksin and Mrs. Pojaman fled to Britain in August after attending the opening ceremony of Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Supreme Court on October 21 sentenced Mr. Thaksin in absentia to two years imprisonment for violating the National Counter Corruption Act. The law bars government officials, including prime ministers, and their spouses, from being involved in or having interests in contracts with government agencies under their supervision. Four other corruption cases are outstanding against him.

His wife purchased land in Bangkok from the Bank of Thailand’s Financial Institutions Development Fund. She was sentenced on July 31 by the Criminal Court to three years in jail in another tax evasion case. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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