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Thursday 16 Apr, 2009

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was set to defy his government last night by leaving Dubai hours after his passport was revoked.

Dubai-based Thaksin has refused to accept the Thai governments travel ban and was due to fly to a secret location in Africa. He is continuing to speak out against the government, which has promised a crackdown on tens of thousands of his supporters occupying the streets of Bangkok.

The government can talk all they want but its not going to stop us. Every Thai person is entitled to a passport and it cannot simply be revoked, a spokesman travelling with Thaksin said last night.

He said Thaksin was in very good form and relaxed. Hes not all that worried, hes really fine, given all thats going on right now, the spokesman said.
He talked to 7DAYS as Thaksin called for calm among thousands of his supporters involved in mass anti-government demonstrations. Basically, we cannot go into Thailand at the moment but he will travel on his passport to other countries. We are going somewhere in Africa, obviously I cannot say where, the spokesperson said, adding that Thaksin expected foreign governments to continue to accept his passport.

The revocation of Thaksins passport stepped up the Thai governments campaign against the billionaire former prime minister, who now lives in Dubais Emirates Hills.

He fled Thailand in 2006 after he was convicted of corruption charges and has claimed the trial was politically motivated.

This week the government placed new charges of incitement on Thaksin for allegedly stirring up the anti-government protests.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has vowed to prosecute all leaders of the rallies, which largely disbanded on Tuesday after troops threatened to use force against thousands of demonstrators.

Government spokesman Panitan Wattana-yagorn said Thaksins passport was withdrawn for inciting protests that forced the cancellation of a summit of Asian leaders on Saturday.




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