Sunday, August 3, 2008

Pojaman Guilty: The Thaksins’ New Search For Exile

No street protests, some noisy supporters armed with roses and a somber Thaksin family on the court benches: Many in Thailand quietly celebrate the conviction of Thaksin’s wife Pojaman to - read TIME’s solid explainer - three years in jail for tax evasion. But what some laud as the “beginning of the end” will lead to grueling years of appeals - with the Thaksins, most probably, soon being far away.

Because humiliated Pojaman - gone are her days of pearls and poses - is just a foretaste of what awaits Thaksin. Call it a politically loaded vendetta against the former strongman. The verdict is solid and history is in the making. After a frustratingly long delay the machinery of the law finally begins to grind. The Pojaman sencence will most likely pave the way for similar guilty rulings against Thaksin who faces at least three serious cases.

Why would Thaksin want to be around any longer? In late July the Supreme Court allowed Thaksin and his wife in a surprising decision to leave the country in early August to visit Japan and China. This very China seems to emerge as the chosen place of exile for the Thaksins, as the screws back home tighten. That is, if Pojaman is still allowed to leave the country.

We’ll never know, as some suggest, if Thaksin has been granted leave on the prearranged agreement that he won’t come back. What we know:

China, where Thaksin bought a splendid new home in Hong Kong, has no extradition treaty with Thailand. He could avoid the court battles of appeals of a Rakesh Saxena, who he is still engaged in a decade-long fight to avoid extradition from Canada to Thailand.

Even Britain, where Thaksin risks of losing his ownership of football club Manchester City, if a Thai court convicts him, is a considerable safe place to fight an extradition.

To that end every other place than Thailand is a considerably safer place. or as Tulsie says: Run, Thaksin, run!”

But back in exile Thaksin can no longer blame - as previously under the putschists - the kangaroo courts of his homeland. Since Thailand’s return of democracy the country is considered a respected member of the international community again. I know, all flowery phrases, but Thaksin got his hands tied.

No easy time ahead for the Thaksins. The great demagogue risks losing it all.

Gone are the days when he, as prime minister, could present his wife at diplomatic receptions showing off the kingdom’s probably biggest diamond collar around Pojaman’s neck.

Now a noose tightens around her neck.

As Thaksin, a well-known public figures with responsibility to society, had publicly lied, cheated and deceived and to that extent exploited every person around him to increase his power and wealth.

What we all knew all along.

But what will all, most likely, soon be certified by the courts.

And me wonders, if convicted, does Pojaman have to give up the Khunying?

And a better Thailand ahead?

Regarding talk of a new truly democratic era ahead for Thailand, don’t expect that the ruination of the Thaksins is having any beneficial impact. The judicial dismemberment of Thaksin is mainly about the ouster of a parasite that became too quickly too dangerous for the establishment.

No comments: