UK cancels visas of Thaksin, wife

BANGKOK (The Nation): The British Embassy has revoked entry visas of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Pojaman. The cancellations, which were decided while the couple were outside England, were notified to airlines yesterday.

The decision was made by the United Kingdom Border Agency, and the notification email was signed by Bangkok-based Immigration Liaison Manager Andy Gray. The email read:

“Dear All,

The United Kingdom Border Agency has revoked the UK visas held by the following Thai nationals:

Thaksin Shinawatra. Thai Passport Number D215863
Potjaman Shinawatra. Thai Passport Number D206635

The UK visas contained in the passports of the individuals listed above are no longer valid for travel.

Airlines are advised not to carry these passengers to the UK.”

The embassy would not comment on the report. Officials contacted there said they “cannot comment on policy matters.”

It was a big political blow for Thaksin, who was believed to be on his way from China to the Philippines yesterday. It was understood that the cancellations had to do with the recent court rulings that found Pojaman guilty of tax evasion and Thaksin guilty of breaking the conflict of interest law in the Ratchadapisek land purchase scandal.

Their couple’s children’s British visas are still valid.

Thaksin has always described England as a “democratically mature” country when compared to Thailand. But he always denied having applied for asylum although he said England would be the country where he wanted to live in exile.

Last Saturday, in a highly controversial long-distance phone-in from Hong Kong, Thaksin accused his political opponents of breaking his family apart. In the same address, he also sought a royal pardon or a popular show of force to bring him back to Thailand.

 “Nobody can bring me back to Thailand except royal kindness of HM the King or the power of the people,” Thaksin said. He also claimed that many countries have offered him “honorary citizenship”, adding that it “made me a bit sad because I could do many things for anybody else in the world, but nothing now for my country.”

The statement triggered a major controversy in Thailand, with Thaksin being accused of trying to drag HM the King into politics. The UK visa move, however, gave Thaksin’s statement a whole new perspective, making him sound more like someone desperate to find refuge rather than simply trying to provoke a political reaction.

Phuket News

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