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Army chief warns Thaksin’s son

Posted by pakin On January - 26 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Army chief Udomdej Sitabutr on Monday warned Panthongtae Shinawatra, the only son of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, that he should not make “problematic comments” on the social media.

Gen Udomdej, who is also deputy defence minister, was responding to an online message that Mr Panthongtae posted on Friday.

The message, “Are you ready? Are you ready, Thai people?” was posted on Mr Panthongtae’s Instagram account following the impeachment of his aunt Yingluck Shinawatra by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA). The image attached to the brief message was a symbol of a clenched fist.

The warning by Gen Udomdej was given to Mr Panthongtae and also to leaders of red-shirt demonstrators who back Thaksin. He said that problematic comments should not be posted as they could grow and lead to incitement.

Gen Udomdej called on all parties to make only proper  comments on the NLA’s impeachment vote. The country was following its roadmap to peace, he said.

The army chief denied that the authorities were about to call anyone in for a talk in relation to the matter.

The decision by the NLA had nothing to do with the National Council for Peace and Order, or to any  alleged attempt to block the Thaksin regime, Gen Udomdej said.

He also confirmed the NCPO has not prohibited Ms Yingluck from going abroad and said there were no signs of any serious situation after the impeachment. The army chief urged all parties to love the nation.

On Friday the NLA retroactively removed Yingluck from the office of prime minister for dereliction of duty in failing to act to rein in the huge losses and corruption in her govrnment’s rice-pledging scheme. The scheme caused losses totalling over 500 billion baht to the state. Her political rights were also   suspended for five years.

The impeachment motion was brought by the National Anti-Corruption Commission under the State Adninistration Act.

Happy siblings reunite in Paris

Posted by pakin On July - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Thaksin’s children post pics of their father hugging Yingluck at airport

Former PM Yingluck Shinawatra has publicly reunited with her brother former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who is in self-imposed exile from Thailand, for the first time in almost six years.

Oak Panthongtae, Thaksin’s son, yesterday posted a photo on Instagram of Thaksin hugging a woman.

Meanwhile, Thaksin’s youngest daughter Paetongtarn posted another picture with a caption that read, “Brother and sister after not seeing each other for three years. Family is everything.”

The woman was later confirmed to be Yingluck.

The former premier left Thailand early yesterday to meet her brother in Paris for his 65th birthday celebration tomorrow.

Yingluck encountered an army of reporters at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 10pm on Wednesday when she arrived to check in for her flight to Paris. Yingluck, accompanied by her son Supasek Amornchat, departed Bangkok on Thai Airways International Flight 930, which left for Paris five minutes after midnight. She earlier told reporters at Suvarnabhumi Airport that she would return to Thailand on August 10 as scheduled.

“I want to take a vacation. Let’s talk after I’ve come back,” Yingluck replied when reports shouted at her asking if she would come back.

Yingluck received permission from the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to leave the country on a European trip some time between last Sunday and August 10.

It was reported that Yingluck and those accompanying her travelled to France with 15 pieces of luggage.

As well as Thaksin’s youngest daughter Paetongtarn, former foreign minister and deputy prime minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul was also seen at the airport. He said he had received permission from the NCPO to leave the country to attend the birthday event and was scheduled to return to Thailand on Sunday.

NCPO spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvari said Yingluck’s trip was a personal one. The NCPO considered on a case-by-case basis whether to allow people who had previously been subject to a travel ban to go abroad.

He said those permitted to go overseas this time are aware that their trips would attract attention so they would be unlikely to “act inappropriately”.

He said the media should not presume that Yingluck would not return.

In September 2006, Thaksin was ousted from office by a military coup while on a trip to the United States. On February 28, 2008 – some 17 months after he first left Thailand – the ex-leader returned home after the People’s Power Party won the first general election held after the coup and formed a government headed by Samak Sundaravej.

Just two months before the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division on Political Office Holders was due to deliver a ruling in a case against him in the Ratchadaphisek land case, Thaksin sought permission and was allowed to attend the Beijing Olympics with his then-wife, Pojaman. In early October 2008, the court found him guilty of conflict of interest and sentenced him in absentia to two years in jail.

He has not returned since then.

Where are the different colours now?

Posted by pakin On July - 2 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

A month after the military intervened amid a deepening political divide and intensifying “colour-coded” politics, The Nation investigates what has become of the pro-Thaksin Shinawatra United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and the anti-Thaksin People’s Democratic Reform Committee.

One month after the coup, the fifth floor of the Imperial World Lat Phrao department store is eerily quiet. It used to be the de facto headquarters of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) up until May 22 – the day the military took over.

The office now is dark and locked up. However, as soon as I began peering into the darkness, I was approached by a security guard questioning my intentions.

After handing him my business card, I asked what he thought of the junta’s plan to end coloured-shirt politics and if he thinks the red shirts still exist.

His response was rather conclusive.

“They are no more,” he said looking at me suspiciously.

Soon enough, four military officers in fatigues showed up and began taking photographs. A master sergeant then told me, in a not so pleasant way, that he believed colour-coded politics had gone for good.

“Everything is in order now,” insisted the sergeant, who has been guarding the area since the power seizure.

The place, which used to be the buzzing hub of the red shirts, is now all but abandoned.

Later, I called red-shirt leader Weng Tojirakarn, who was arrested right after the coup and has since been released, to ask if he still considered himself a red shirt and a leader of the UDD.

After much pressing, he eventually conceded, saying he was indeed a red shirt and a UDD leader, before adding that the situation was far from normal. “We’re under martial law so we can’t do anything.”

However, he said he was convinced that the plan by the junta – which operates under the name ‘National Council for Peace and Order’ (NCPO) – to dissolve the red shirts and other political groups would not succeed if all sides are not treated equally.

“In the end, it’s the people who will decide [whether to continue being red shirts or not],” he said.

Red-shirt academic Suthachai Yimprasert, one of those summoned by the NCPO, said the seeming absence of thered shirts in post-coup Thailand was artificially induced and wouldn’t last for too long.

“I don’t think it’s going to work. People’s beliefs cannot be changed at gunpoint. Forcing people not to think will just not work,” he said, adding that everybody in a democratic society should have the freedom to think differently.

Suthachai pointed out that some of the red-shirt leaders who publicly denounced their political identity after being detained by the military were not really telling the truth, because “there is no free will”.

“It’s like goons pointing a gun at you. You just have to say what they want.”

On the other side of the political divide, Tankhun Jitt-itsara, a co-leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), also thinks the scheme will not work.

“It is impossible [to dissolve red or PDRC] identities,” said Tankhun, who spoke at the PDRC protest stage for most of the six-month-long period.

“This will also ruin the opportunity for people to be politically alert,” he said, adding that the real need was not dissolving colour-coded politics, but getting rid of violence and hate speech against those who think differently.

Back at Imperial World, the owner of Post Cafe on the ground floor, insisted that some red were still visiting the mall – though not necessarily going up to the fifth floor or wearing red shirts – and they were still discussing politics.

Thaksin reported to be in Japan

Posted by pakin On May - 30 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

TOKYO – Fugitive former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is reported to be in Japan on a private visit.

Thaksin arrived in Japan at the beginning of the week and was expected to stay there for several days.

Pictures apparently taken by a Thai national staying in Japan have been posted on the internet showing Thaskin walking in Tokyo in he company of a woman.

Thaksin posted on Twitter recently that he was saddened by the May 22 coup.

Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup and fled Thailand to avoid a two-year jail term from a corruption conviction.

He is the elder brother of recently disqualified former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was unseated by a Constitutional Court ruling earlier this month

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