Thailand in the News Week Ending 2/20/10

Bangkok Braces for Thaksin Court Verdict

Red shirt protesters in Bangkok

Photo Courtesy AP/Sakchai Lalit, File

The big news this week is the coming verdict in the Thaksin Shinawatra Supreme Court case. The Supreme court has been deciding whether or not to confiscate Thaksin’s fortunes which have been frozen for some time due to corruption allegations. The issue at hand for the Supreme Court is to determine if the money Thaksin made during his reign as Prime Minister was made by illegally using his influence in business dealings for himself and family members.

Many countries have posted warnings and advisories to travelers and expats alike that Bangkok is not the place to be in the coming week due to the likelihood of violence centered around the verdict to be handed down by the Supreme Court next Friday.

With the uproar of the red shirts and thousands of police and army personnel taking to the streets of Bangkok before the verdict comes down it would seem the Supreme Court holds Thailand’s future in the balance at this critical time. There are many that believe the court will decide to confiscate all of Thaksin’s fortune but it might not be that simple. The Supreme Court is in the hot seat and no matter what the decision,  there is sure to be many upset with the verdict.

The Supreme Court has no doubt heard from all sides in this matter from the government to Thaksin’s people and it’s a sure bet that everyone involved wants their pound of flesh. As for Thaksin he has long made the arguement that the bulk of his fortune was made prior to becoming Prime Minister. This may leave the door open for the Supreme Court to take a higher road and piss off everyone involved.

The court has to decide if Thaksin is guilty of corruption,  and if so,  how his family business, Shin Corp, profited from the illegitimate business deals associated with the case. Thaksin is a savvy business man and always has been,  so his point that not all the money is from his time as Prime Minister of Thailand  is a legitimate claim. This gives the Supreme Court a face saving get out of jail free card that they very well may use.

It is very possible that when they hand down the verdict this coming week that they will only seize a portion of Thaksin’s assets and relinquish the balance to the ex Prime Minister. Of course this will upset everyone in the government and all of the red shirt protesters but probably not enough for violence to erupt. The red shirts wouldn’t be happy with such a verdict but they would still claim it as a victory for their deposed leader. The government on the other hand can close the case on a large portion of the Thaksin saga without losing face.

As the world watches Bangkok this week with anticipation of the verdict on Friday we can only hope that the Supreme Court has done it’s job well,  taking into consideration not only the law but the impact this verdict will have on the kingdom. It may be less a case of finding against Thaksin than a case of finding for Thailand.

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8 Comment(s)

  1. I hate to sound cynical but…

    “The Supreme Court has no doubt heard from all sides in this matter from the government to Thaksin’s people and it’s a sure bet that everyone involved wants their pound of flesh.”

    Are “the government” and “Thaksin’s people” really two different sides ?

    “It is very possible that when they hand down the verdict this coming week that they will only seize a portion of Thaksin’s assets and relinquish the balance to the ex Prime Minister.”

    That makes it sound more like a bribe and just the cost of doing business.

    IMHO This sounds just like politics as usual in America.

    ChuckWow | Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

  2. Chuck,
    They may not be two different sides completely but they definitely want two different outcomes.

    Yup, it’s definitely the cost of doing business…and no doubt Thaksin took that into consideration a long time ago when he started whipping the red shirts into a frenzy in his name. Even if he only walks away with a small portion of his fortune he is a very very rich man.

    Talen | Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

  3. I’ve been getting an earful over this issue. But before that happened, I was able to ask three questions.

    1) Where did Thaksin, a mere policeman working up the ranks, got all his money?

    Response: Thaksin’s family was rich.

    2) If Thaksin came from a wealthy family, why did he want to become a policeman?

    Response: Power.

    3) What about Abhisit?

    Response: He’s a nice guy, but he can only talk, talk, talk. He is too young to have gained enough power to run the country.

    After that point, the party line came into play: Thaksin loves the people, Thaksin did everything for the people, Thaksin…

    (Talen, your commentluv is giving me bad juju…)

    Catherine | Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

  4. Cat, it’s commentluv that’s the problem…you may have to register with them to fix it.

    As for Thaksin…he has ingrained himself in rural Thailand. A smart move from the beginning . No other politicians would take the time or had the inclination to speak to their needs. And while he used their votes to secure his power he did do right by them…unfortunately while doing so he pocketed large sums of cash.

    Abhisit…he may be nicer but he has the same aspirations as any other politician.

    Talen | Feb 22, 2010 | Reply

  5. Talen until I read this post I assumed the courts would take all of Thaksin’s money but your views make a lot of sense. To take or give all would lead to big trouble and so meeting both parties somewhere near the middle just might offset any major problems.

    I hope you are right and the outcome ends this whole sorry affair but we both know Thaksin ain’t going to give up the fight until a major victory of some kind is his.
    .-= Martyn´s last blog ..Mafia Wars Bangkok =-.

    Martyn | Feb 23, 2010 | Reply

  6. Martyn, it is s a possibility but they could still take it all …I guess we’ll find out for sure on Friday.

    I can say for sure that it’s not affecting the village too much as Pookie is going to a Buddhist house warming ritual on Friday.

    As for Thaksin , I have no doubt that he will not only live in Thailand again but be a part of politics as well.

    Talen | Feb 23, 2010 | Reply

  7. Wilai was considering travelling down to Bangkok for the red shirt rally but I managed to convince her otherwise. I pointed out that her puppy dog Pepsi would miss her and that was enough to win the day. These political nuts are obviously a soft touch.

    Thanks for inspiring me to write a post, I was running dry on ideas until reading your excellent up write up.
    .-= Martyn´s last blog ..Faith, Hope and Charity =-.

    Martyn | Feb 24, 2010 | Reply

  8. what ever happens to him he seems to be doing pretty well my taxi ride near is residents bought for 20 million pounds two houses knocked into one looks like he may be intending to keep a base in the UK for a while never mind a return to Thailand
    .-= john´s last blog ..Phu Phra Bat Historical Park, Udon Thani =-.

    john | Feb 25, 2010 | Reply

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