Update (May 29) – According to a report by Khaosod English, Thai army chief Udomdet Sitabutr has now indeed charged Thaksin with lese majeste for allegedly “defaming the monarchy” in an unspecified recent interview with a South Korean news agency.
In one of the interviews, Thaksin accused “traditional elites” and privy councillors (who are not protected by the lese majeste law) of masterminding the coup last May against the elected government of his sister Yingluck.
Lese majeste carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. An aide of the army chief, however, conceded that seeking Thaksin’s extradition would be “difficult”.
Here’s our earlier report:
Following an interview Thaksin Shinawatra gave a Korean media outlet in Seoul last Wednesday, the former prime minister (2001-2006) had his Thai passports revoked and may face charges of insulting the monarchy (lese majeste), defamation, and violating the Computer Crimes Act.
The Bangkok Post reports:
Police believed one of his media interviews recently violated the lese majeste law, as well as other criminal and computer crime laws.
In one of the interviews, the Bangkok Post reported earlier, Thaksin Shinawatra claimed that privy councillors had “worked behind the scenes” in supporting the anti-government protests in late 2013 and 2014 that culminated in a coup against the elected government of his younger sister Yingluck in May last year.
Thaksin reportedly told Choson Media in Seoul:
The armed forces listen to privy counsellors. When they did not want us to stay in power, they ordered Suthep (Thaugsuban) to come out and ordered the armed forces to help (Suthep).
Thaksin’s passports were previously revoked by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government in 2009, but reinstated to him when his sister Yingluck became prime minister and formed a government in 2011. Same as her brother in 2006, she was later ousted by a military coup.
In 2008, Thaksin was sentenced in absentia to two years in jail for alleged abuse of power and has since lived in self-imposed exile. Thaksin and his supporters have insisted the verdict was “politically motivated”.
Thaksin has homes in Dubai, Hong Kong, and London, and is reportedly also a citizen and passport-holder of Montenegro.