Thaksin and the “Bad Exes” Story

Originally published at Siam Voices on October 12, 2010

The Foreign Policy (FP) magazine has published a story under the title “Bad Exes”, where author Joshua E. Keating has listed five former heads of state including Gerhard Schröder, José María Aznar and Joseph Estrada on what they have been doing after they left office – most of them are controversial to say the least. Thaksin was also featured in this story:

Since being deposed in a 2006 coup amid allegations of graft and human rights abuses, Thaksin has lived a peripatetic existence. The former billionaire businessman has served as a “special ambassador” for Nicaragua and an economic advisor in Cambodia, and was briefly owner of the Manchester City soccer club. Thaksin reportedly lived under a false name in Germany for more than a year and has used illegally received passports from a number of other countries as well. He now makes his home in Dubai. (…)

Bad Exes“, by Joshua E. Keating, Foreign Policy, October 1, 2010

Keating then goes on to describe his alleged role during the red shirts protests of this year. On Monday Thaksin’s lobbyist legal adviser and former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama went to press to slam the article:

Fugitive Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will not sue writer of a US magazine who listed him among “Bad Exes,” but instead will write to explain facts, Thaksin’s personal spokesman Noppadon Pattama said Monday.

Noppadon also dismissed on behalf of Thaksin (…) that Thaksin used false name and passport to enable him to live in Germany for a year.

Thaksin is not bad exes : Noppadon [absolutely sic!]“, The Nation, October 12, 2010

As I reported back in February, Thaksin indeed was given a German residence permit legally. But under dubious circumstances and even more dubious people accompanying him, he wasn’t actually supposed to be allowed in there in the first and when the German authorities found out about this, his visa was cancelled.

Noppadon then went on to say that the American journalist was “apparently misinformed only to discredit Mr Thaksin,” an argument that we have heard in different contexts several times already.

Oh, and there’s one more thing:

Noppadon said in a press conference, “I dare to challenge anyone to come out to show evidence that Thaksin used the false name and passport. If anyone could, he or she will be rewarded Bt1 million per each evidence.”

Thaksin is not bad exes : Noppadon [friggin’ sic!]“, The Nation, October 12, 2010

Anyone dares to say: “Challenge accepted”?

ADDENDUM: First off, when the alleged use of a false name was mentioned (“Thaksin reportedly lived under a false name in Germany for more than a year“), the link in the original story apparently leads to another FP story, but instead the page is inaccessible.

Secondly, last year the Thai foreign ministry came up with this claim:

Runaway ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra has used new name in his passports issued by some African countries, Thai Vice foreign minister Panich Vikitsreth said Wednesday. Thaksin’s name in passports issued by Nicaragua, Uganda and Montenegro has been changed to “Takki Shinegra” he said.

Thaksin’s new name : Takki Shinegra“, The Nation, November 25, 2009

And here’s Thaksin’s answer to that:

“If the ministry really did say that, then it must have reached the bottom-most level,” he said in a Twitter message. He said it would be pointless for a person like him to travel under a different name because he was recognised wherever he goes.

Thaksin denies being ‘Takki Shinegra’“, Bangkok Post, November 26, 2009

Whether he ever really used this name or someone in the foreign ministry watched too much Japanese stuff is yet to be seen. What I can say with absolute certainty is:

Takki Shinegrea?! What an utterly stupid name…!