Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung yesterday defended the national police chief's visit to Hong Kong to meet fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong reportedly made a one-day trip to Hong Kong on Tuesday to wish his former brother-in-law a happy birthday.
Chalerm said the police chief had done nothing wrong and that he would not penalise Priewpan for not arresting Thaksin because Thai laws cannot be enforced in foreign countries.
“I think it was appropriate [for Priewpan],” Chalerm said. “Besides, he has no jurisdiction to arrest anyone outside Thailand.”
Priewpan had permission for a leave of absence to travel to Hong Kong, Chalerm said.
“Instead of punishing him, I intend to ask what he and Thaksin talked about,” he said, alluding to speculation that Thaksin’s ex-wife Khunying Pojaman na Pombejara is pushing for her brother Priewpan to join the Cabinet following his retirement in September.
In fact, Chalerm said he doubted that Priewpan actually met with Thaksin, alluding to his own trip to Hong Kong last week, during which he insists he did not meet Thaksin.
In a related development, Priewpan’s designated successor General Adul Sangsingkaew dismissed speculation that he too had met Thakisn.
“I did not go to Hong Kong,” Adul said, speaking at Government House on the sidelines of a meeting on drug suppression chaired by Chalerm.