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Wed, January 10, 2007 : Last updated 19:39 pm (Thai local time)

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Home > Headlines > FM cancel ousted premier and wife's diplomatic passports

FM cancel ousted premier and wife's diplomatic passports

The Foreign Ministry has revoked diplomatic passports of deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife, Khunying Pojaman, after an investigation concluded the former premier has been engaging in political activities while in exile, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday.

The ministry has also instructed all of its embassies not to facilitate Thaksin's travels and visits, said deputy Foreign Ministry's spokesman Kiatthikhun Chartprasert.

The move came after months of debate among top government officials, as well as a growing call from the public, over whether Thaksin's diplomatic passport should be revoked to curb his movement and activities abroad.

"Taking into consideration the appropriateness and security concern, the diplomatic passports of Thaksin and wife have been revoked since December 31, 2006," Kiatthikhun said.

Thaksin, however, is permitted to continue to carry an ordinary Thai passport that will enabled him to travel abroad but would not be as convenient than the diplomatic one with red cover. With exception of Asean members, a number of countries abroad required a pre-approved visa for Thai passport holders.

The idea of revoking Thaksin's passport surfaced almost immediately after he was ousted in September 19, 2006.

Thaksin has been visiting a number of neighbouring countries, including China, Japan and Indonesia, as well as Hong Kong, where he believed to have met some of his close aids.

Suspicious of him plotting a political comeback immediately surfaced and kicked off a round of debate among the coup leaders, diplomats and senior officials.

Foreign Ministry had consistently downplayed the demand on the ground that all former prime ministers and foreign ministers of Thailand were permitted to hold on to their diplomatic passport for life.

The junta accused Thaksin of orchestrating what they called "under current" to create trouble for the people in the power.

The issue was raised at the Parliamentarian debate when Deputy Foreign Ministry Sawanit Kongsiri informed the National Legislative Assembly in closed session that the ministry has already terminated the diplomatic passports of Thaksin and his wife.

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