BANGKOK (AFP): Thailand will not be putting out the welcome mat for international financier George Soros when he fronts up here next week, say angry nationalists who accuse him of sabotaging the Thai economy. “Our foreign ministry should bar entry to a man who has hurt 60 million Thais, and turned Thailand into one of the United States of America,” said leading businessman and campaigner Amarin Khoman. “He is a pirate who robbed our country, and we should show him we do not want him here.” He vowed to bring legal action against Soros for “destroying our economy and plunging millions of Thais into a miserable plight.” Soros is blamed for helping set off the 1997 Asian economic crisis by mounting attacks on regional currencies including the Thai baht and the Malaysian ringgit. Recently he has admitted to flaws in his capitalist rationale, and is expected to expand on that theme when he attends a conference here on Wednesday sponsored by his Open Society Institute. On Wednesday evening he is to address business leaders and journalists at a sell-out gala dinner which an alliance of 10 nationalist groups has promised to target. Internet message boards are bristling with threats to pelt Soros with rotten fruit and cream pies. One entry offers a 1,000 baht (24 dollars) to anyone who can bomb the visitor with faeces. Soros is arriving at a time when nationalism is running high in Thailand. The populist Thai Rak Thai (Thai Love Thai) party led by billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra successfully captured that mood to secure a victory in the January 6 national elections. One protestor, Civil Liberty chairman Veera Somkwamkid, confirmed his group would attempt to take legal action against Soros for “damaging Thailand’s sovereignty.” “We will inform police and we hope they will take action when he sets foot in Thailand,” he told reporters.
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