Monday, 9 May 2011

Thaksin: I'll return at end of year

Fugitive expm Thaksin Shinawatra said yesterday he would return to Thailand around November this year to celebrate New Year and declare a second round of the war on drugs.

Thaksin has been at the centre of controversy over the sumฌmary execution of thousands of suspects allegedly relating to the narcotics trade following his warondrugs policy during his administration. He stopped short of saying anything about turning himself in to face fraud and corruption charges after fleeing the country in August 2008.
Thaksin made the remarks during an address to a seminar panel organised by the Pheu Thai Party as part of its election campaign at Wat Sapan in Bangkok's Klong Toey District.

Klong Toey community leader Prateep Ungsongtham asked the Pheu Thai what were the party's antidrug policies and how could it prevent drug smuggling from neighbouring countries without hurting ties with them. Prateep also revealed she had asked young drug sellers: Who supplied the drugs? And they told her state officials did.

Thaksin said he felt sad for some police officers who bought their way to higher posts. "They want to climb [the ladder to promotion] so they seek loans, extort and do whatฌever they can to get money to give to people in Government House. If the Pheu Thai Party gets to form the government, the party will do away with this illpractice,'' he said.

He also said if the Pheu Thai takes the government reins, the party would declare war on drugs for a second round. "We will solve the problem within 12 months. We will start from a soft to hard approach. We will not order police to kill anyone. Police must first stop drug dealing, and witness protection measures are a must, as they would help us obtain informaฌtion. We also need military officials to help solve the problem in an integrated way."

Thaksin said he could talk to neighbouring countries to end problems. "When I was in the government, we had good relationships with our neighbours. If I were still in the government, there would not have been [milฌitary] clashes,'' he said.

"I will definitely come back at the end of this year. Just when my plane touches down at Suvarnabhumi Airport, drug traders will stop trading. We must give officials incentives. Giving them money on the table is better than under the table. Officials want to have integrity but they cannot earn enough to eat. We also take action against large traders and let small drug traders earn a living in the right way by fuelling our economy,'' he said.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Chai Chidchob has warned Thaksin against helping the Pheu Thai in its election campaign since it could result in the party being dissolved.

Chai said people whom the Election Commission has banned from taking part in election campaigning include party executives of dissolved parties. If they helped any party rally for votes, that party faced being dissolved.

"I think Thaksin knows the law. He probably took the opportunity to [ give the advice] before the Royal decree on dissolving the House was announced in the Royal gazette. After that he may try to evade the law or exploit legal loopholes,'' Chai said.

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