Another blow : UK revokes Thaksin’s visa

Convicted, fugitive, a case of lese-majeste on his shoulders... and now the UK’s doors closed…

The British government has revoked the visas of the former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife.

An e-mail sent to airlines from the British embassy in Bangkok told them not to allow the couple to board flights to Britain.

A Thai foreign ministry official told the Reuters news agency: “The foreign ministry has checked the reports with British authorities and they have confirmed that the visas were revoked.” (BBC)

And confirmation from the thai Foreign Ministry :

The British government has informed Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the cancellation of visas of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Pojaman, according to MOF.

Thanee Thongpakdee, deputy spokesman of the ministry, said the the ministry has been informed about the revoked entry visas.

The confirmation of the Thai side ends the doubt that the report could have been just a rumour. (Nation)

Bangkok Post gave other details and one that could be the smoking gun :

“He has relinquished the application process for political asylum in the UK,” said a close aide to Thaksin who asked to remain anonymous. “A few days ago he decided to terminate the process.”

Indeed. Both events are likely to be linked. It would have been difficult for the UK to revoke the visas while processing a political asylum request…

However, Thaksin still has huge financial means… He sold the Manchester football club (with a large profit)… many countries are willing to offer him honorary citizenships, passports etc.

So, it is a political blow… sure… but on a practical level it won’t change the situation : Thaksin remains popular in Thailand… A political apparatus remains at his orders (PPP, the current government, the Prime Minister Somchai is his brother in law etc.).

And probably more than ever, he wants his revenge.

13 Responses to “Another blow : UK revokes Thaksin’s visa”

  1. 1 chinesethai 8 November 2008 at 12:11 pm


    I heard the report the first time from Sondhi Limthongkul’s Manager Online but I believe the news left me and many other Thais in disbelief. We thought it was a hoax and Sondhi and PAD would surely lose face on this.

    Then the Nation was the second one to have this news up on their website but carefully cited Sondhi’s Manager Online as the source. Everybody was even increasingly skeptical.

    His and Potjaman’s passport numbers start with ‘D’ so I was pretty sure they were red passports for diplomats. Perhaps it could be linked to his asylum application.

    Then in the morning, AFP might have validated the information and had it up on Google. At noon, BBC, Al Jazeera English, and Channel News Asia began to confirm the rumour.

    Frankly, I had not expected revocation of Thaksin’s UK visa. Thailand has a convicted citizen, Pin Jakkapak, also a US citizen, living in exile in London. So I thought Thaksin should have been a sure bet to get asylum approval too. But this one is a hugeeeee blow for him. He may risk being declined entry to Mainland China and Hong Kong too, if he can’t prove to the authorities that he won’t use their territories for political purposes back in Thailand. China is a communist country and the Chinese leaders’s charm offensive is gathering momentum among the Thais so they can’t afford to screw up its reputation.

    ThaiCrisis, yes, Thaksin still has huge financial means, of course. But the fact that he becomes a nomad, moving from place to place, will unprecedentedly give him a difficult time.

  2. 2 chinesethai 8 November 2008 at 12:21 pm

    China has excellent relation with Thailand’s Royal Palace as Princesses Sirindhorn and Chulabhorn makes numerous visits there so Beijing would definitely feel uneasy if Thaksin does not respect the rules.

  3. 3 ThaiCrisis 8 November 2008 at 1:29 pm

    I wouldn’t bet too much on that… I’m not sure China cares about good relationship for the sakes of good relationships…

    China could care about… a strong man… who could in the future manage Thailand… according to the chinese interests…

    The important point for China is : who is going to run Thailand in the future…

    A princess… or Thaksin ? πŸ˜‰

    A source from the People Power Party said Saturday that former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has bought a house worth Bt300 million in China.

    The source said Thaksin was now in China to see the construction of his house near the Pine Valley Golf Course in Beijing.

    You see… It might have started. πŸ˜‰

  4. 4 chinesethai 8 November 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Well if that is the case, you also have to realize that Thaksin does have at least 2 luxury mansions and substantial investments in London too. In fact, Thaksin has investments around the world – Singapore, China, Hong Kong, UK, Switzerland, British Virgin Islands etc.

    Thaksin and the CCP have good relationship? It may not be so. Reasons?

    1. Thaksin once blocked China Investment Corp or CIC in a deal to buy up Prachai Liaopairach’s TPI Petrochemical at a higher price of 7 Baht/share (if I am not wrong). Thaksin instead used his power through Ministry of Finance to gobble up the company at only 3 Baht/share. After appointing new board of directors, the company changed its name to IRPC, waiting to be sold to ShinCorp and then to Singapore’s Temasek. But his goal did not materialize because of Sep 19 Coup. A big upset to China.

    2. His visit to his ancestral home in Guangdong to display his bond with China seemed to convince some western media that Thaksin was China’s close ally. But at the same time, Thaksin aligned Thailand with the U.S. as Non-NATO ally in the War Against Terror campaign, the ultimate goal of which was of course to strategically encircle China.

    3. Thaksin has close relationship with both George H Bush and W Bush. This was proven by his letter to George W. Bush asking for help, when his popularity was sagging, shortly before the coup in 2006.

    The conflict over Preah Vihear once again had many western analysts speculate that China, and U.S., would side with Cambodia against the unfairly alleged Thailand’s aggression. It turned out to be baseless, however. Both superpowers stayed neutral and called for peaceful resolution.

  5. 5 FDL 8 November 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Now of course the Thai government will be obliged to formally ask China to extradite fugitives Thaksin Shinawatra and wife Potjman to Thailand.
    Has China ever extradited criminal or political fugitives back to their countries, I wonder?

    It appears however that Thaksin is feeling safe enough in China to start building a mansion at his latest adopted country.

    Thaksin elected to live in U.K. before because Thaksin said U.K. is a paragon of democracy. What does Thaksin say now of China . . paragon of rule of law and respect for human rights (Thaksin’s rights of course!)?

  6. 6 fall 8 November 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Has China ever extradited criminal or political fugitives back to their countries

    This sentence make me laugh(in a good way). Because I was under the impression that human rights and political prisoners aint exactly an accepted deal in China. They just shoot them…

  7. 7 chinesethai 8 November 2008 at 4:29 pm

    London’s Kensington is the key place where arms dealers, corrupt politicians, and various kinds of convicted fugitives consider their safe haven too. Britain rarely extradite them.

    Take Pin Jakkapak of FinOne for example. There also used to be a young Thai businessman who owned a pyramid investment scheme. Moreover, this guy colluded with a group of top brasses to stage a coup against General Prem Tinnasulanonda, currently Chief Privy Council too. Facing arrest warrant, he then fled to London and had lived and opened businesses there for 20 years until the arrest warrant expired.

    Britain never extradited these people.

    Rakesh Suxena, who is guilty of bank embezzlement, which brought down Bangkok Bank of Commerce or BBC shortly before the 1997 economic crisis, is still at large in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Neither the Canadian provincial or federal government has extradited him.

    So it is not unusual for a country like the United Kingdom or China to harbour these people as long as they don’t embarrass their countries.

  8. 8 cosmos 8 November 2008 at 5:48 pm

    But Pin and Rakesh was not masterminding the causing of clashes between citizens, the blowing off limbs and death of persons and throwing of bombs at high level judge houses and causing all other sorts of trouble and violence in Thailand like Thaksin been doing (maybe even involved with the border skirmish with Cambodia?)… if Pin and Rakesh had been doing something like these things to be happen in Thailand from their luxury apartments in UK, I believe the Brits would not want to give safe haven to such terrorist mastermind.

  9. 9 chinesethai 8 November 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Check this out but it is in Thai.

    Akeyuth Anchabutr, the genious guy who I mentioned earlier of colluding with some generals in a failed coup against Gen Prem Tinnasulanonda more than 20 years ago and fleeing to live in exile in UK, unextradited. He is among the first who openly attempted to bring Thaksin down while Sondhi Limthongkul was still kissing Thaksin’a arse. An enemy of both Sondhi and Thaksin, Akeyuth knows China inside out. He predicts that China doesn’t want Thaksin causing trouble to their country either as CCP has special relationship with the Royal Palace as I mentioned.

    So you know, Thaksin’s Bt300-million house in Beijing will definitely not help him in China as those PPP members pathetically brag about. I don’t give them any value.

    So….fall, you’re right that political prisoners ain’t an accepted deal in China. Thaksin is exactly facing the music. πŸ˜›

  10. 10 Fonzi 8 November 2008 at 7:11 pm

    RE: China

    Thaksin would be an idiot to settle in China. That definitely would be the nail in the political coffin, because even if he conspired to make a comeback on his own, the Chinese intelligence service would be monitoring every movement, every phone call, every e-mail. He’d have no privacy to conspire.

    The Chinese were quick to embrace the coup, like they embrace every authoritarian regime and dictator in the region. So I doubt they have any love for Thaksin. Or didn’t have love for Thaksin.

    However, if the Chinese ever wanted a puppet regime in Thailand to do its bidding, Thaksin would be the perfect candidate to install, especially since both China and Thaksin live by the principle of bun khun, or “I will scratch your back, if you scratch mine.”

    China already has a huge economic and political presence in Burma, Laos, and Cambodia, which to a certain extent are already puppet states. If Thailand was a puppet state as well, China’s dominance of its southern flank would be complete.

    If you want to read an interesting and creepy first hand account of Chinese involvement in Thailand’s internal political affairs, there is a book called The Dragon’s Pearl by Sirin Phathanothai. This is the Thai version of the Manchurian Candidate, but only based on a real life story.

  11. 11 chinesethai 9 November 2008 at 5:35 am

    I can tell ya that if the Chinese really wants to pull strings through a puppet PM, Thaksin would definitely be “the” bad choice. πŸ˜›

  12. 12 Bkk Businessman 9 November 2008 at 11:09 am

    The fact that Britain has withdrawn Thaksin’s and Pojaman’s visas is cause for celebration. Britain enjoys a high reputation amongst Thais to the extent that many British institutions have been emulated in Thailand.

    I have no doubt that this occurrence will cause at some Thais who have hitherto been keen supporters of Thaksin to reconsider their position.


  13. 13 Bedwyr 9 November 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Methinks the guy who said the reason is either big or scary is right. This whole think stinks of Thaksin doing some seriously naughty things while in UK.


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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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