Sunday, 14 March 2010

Govt believes Thaksin is in Cambodia

via CAAI News Media

By The Nation
Published on March 13, 2010

Government officials and their opponents yesterday released contradictory information on former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's whereabouts, with the former saying he had left Dubai for Cambodia and the latter claiming he was still in the emirate.

Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, first floated news that Thaksin had landed by private jet in Siem Reap in the morning.

The Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh was verifying the information and would report back to the ministry about Thaksin's activities in Cambodia, he said.

Vice Foreign Minister Panich Vikitsreth said he had learnt that following a Thai request, Dubai had asked Thaksin to leave as the United Arab Emirates did not want him to use the country as a launching PAD for attacks against the Thai government.

"He might travel to the country he is familiar with and where he has a close association with its leaders," he said, without naming the destination.

There were no reports from Cambodia on whether Thaksin had arrived in the country.

Acting Government Spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the ex-premier had travelled from one country to another, but there was no clear information on his current whereabouts.

The locations of Thaksin and his family are a matter of particularly close interest for the government at this time. The anti-government red-shirt movement called for a huge protest yesterday, which hundreds of thousands people are expected to join in Bangkok over the weekend.

Former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama, who is now a legal adviser to Thaksin, rejected the government's information about his whereabouts, saying he was still in Dubai and planned to see his daughters somewhere in Europe in the next few days.

"For sure, he would not travel to Cambodia during this period when the red-shirted group is holding the protest," he said.

The authorities in Dubai have not forced Thaksin to leave as Kasit is trying to suggest, he added.

"Location is not a big deal for Thaksin, as he can phone in to support the red-shirt protesters from any corner of the globe," Noppadon said.

Thaksin has not yet reunited with his family, as his ex-wife Pojaman na Pombejra is still in Hong Kong and their daughters Pinthongtha and Paetongtarn are in Germany, according to Noppadon.

Thaksin's youngest sister Yinglak Shinawatra had left Thailand for an undisclosed country to seek a school for her child, he added.

Red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan said the movement had no problem with Thaksin's family leaving the country during the protest.

"It's good, as the government will not be able to bother them," he said.

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