Monday, April 6, 2009

One-million-baht bounty offered for Thaksin's arrest

BANGKOK, April 6 (Xinhua) -- A group of 20 former army officers, senators and businessmen of Thailand on Monday offered a one-million-baht (some 28,600 U.S. dollars) bounty for the arrest of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who faced arrest warrant on corruption charges in Thailand.

    General Somjate Boonthanom, former head of the Secretary-General 's Office of the Council for National Security (CNS), urged the Thai people to join hands in solving the country's political unrest and charged that Thaksin is the root cause of the problem, according to a report by Thai News Agency.

    The CNS, which grouped top military figures, staged a bloodless coup on Sept. 19, 2006 to topple then government of Thaksin. It was the country's ruling junta body for a year before it went defunct in late 2007.

    Somjate said the bounty is offered by the group of business leaders to anyone who could bring Thaksin to Thailand to face his two-year prison sentence on corruption charges. He said current political turmoil could end if Thaksin is brought back and faces prosecution.

    The group also issued a statement charging that Thaksin and his "red-shirt" supporters from the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) had "slandered the royal institution both openly and secretly" since he was forced from power.

    Meanwhile on Monday, a lawyer acting on behalf of Thaksin filed a complaint at a Bangkok police station asking the police to prosecute Privy Councilor General Pichitr Kullavanijaya for libel in an interview with the media last Friday, during which the Pichitr accused Thaksin of disrespecting the royal institution and of having deposited a large sum of money on the Caymans.

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