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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thaksin leaves Japan, denies Cambodian trip plan

By The Nation

Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who ended his six-day visit to Japan yesterday, said he had no immediate plan to visit neighbouring Cambodia, where a business interest of his is in doubt.

 The former premier, who was in the media spotlight last week for his high profile visit, left Japan for Macao after meeting with senior Japanese lawmakers and visiting areas hit by the March earthquake and tsunami.

Thaksin headed for Macao on his way back to Dubai, where he has lived in exile since being toppled by a military coup in 2006.

During an interview with Kyodo news agency, Thaksin denied a report he would visit Cambodia shortly.

He reportedly cancelled his plan to visit Phnom Penh after criticism in Thailand over personal business dealings involving oil and gas concessions in the overlapping area in the Gulf of Thailand claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia.

Thaksin's travelling has been controversial and could pose political implications for the government led by his sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The opposition Democrat Party last week began an impeachment process to remove Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul from his post for abuse of authority in asking the Japanese to allow Thaksin a special visa to visit their country.

The former PM needed Thai government support as Japanese immigration laws prohibit entry to any foreigner who has been sentenced to more than a year in prison.

Thaksin was given a two-year term on a charge of abuse of power, but fled Thailand before serving his sentence.

The Democrats claimed Surapong, by supporting Thaksin's visa claim, helped fugitive Thaksin to avoid the court's ruling.

Surapong denied the allegation, saying that granting of a visa was the responsibility of Tokyo and his government had nothing to do with Thaksin's travels.

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