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Pattaya Daily News

10 November 2008 :: 22:11:32 pm 40628

Thailand Denies Asking Britain About Revoked Thaksin Visa

BANGKOK, Nov 10 - Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sompong Amornvivat on Monday denied reports that his ministry would query the British government as to why it had revoked the visas for convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Pojaman.
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Earlier comments by Surapong Tovichakchaikul, an MP for the northern province of Chiang Mai and member of the ruling People Power Party, that the Thai foreign ministry would officially send a letter to the British government asking for an explanation regarding why it had revoked visas for the couple were untrue, Mr. Sompong said.

Such remarks by Mr. Surapong would only negatively affect the warm relations between the two countries, he said.

“The reports were groundless. The British government has full rights to revoke visas of Mr. Thaksin and his wife if it deems appropriate and need not inform the Thai government. The (Thai) foreign ministry won’t ask either Britain’s ambassador to Thailand nor the British government,” said Mr. Sompong.

The British government over the weekend confirmed that it had revoked visas for the couple to re-enter the UK where they had earlier lived in self-imposed exile.

An email message was sent by a British embassy official identified as Andy Gray, from the UK Border Agency, instructing airlines that it has revoked visas issued to the couple.

In the meantime, Mr. Thaksin was reported to be leaving Beijing for an undisclosed destination, which some had speculated was the Philippines. He pledged to fight back against his political enemies.

While Mr. Thaksin was spinning explanations of voluntarily withdrawing his bid for political asylum in Britain, the British embassy communication which was circulated to air carriers said the couple should be prevented from boarding planes to Britain.

The couple 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.

Mr. Sompong said his ministry would cooperate with the Attorney General’s Office on extraditing Mr. Thaksin to face justice in Thailand but so far the Office has not requested.

On reports that Mr. Thaksin is now staying in China and plans to seek asylum in the Philippines, Mr. Sompong said both countries have extradition treaties with Thailand and whether the ousted premier could stay in the Philippines would depend entirely on the Philippine government.

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo’s spokesman, Jesus Dureza, however, said on Monday that the foreign department has not officially received any request from Mr. Thaksin.

“He will be courteously informed that he will not be received here,” Dureza said on ANC television.

Touching on demands by the opposition Democrat Party and the anti-government coalition to revoke Mr. Thaksin’s diplomatic passport, the Thai foreign minister said his ministry could do it, but some honour must be granted to the former prime minister. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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