Thai Foreign Ministry handed ultimatum over Thaksin's passport

THAILAND - The Office of the Ombudsman has stepped up pressure on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to heed its recommendation that former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's passport be recalled, Ombudsman spokesman Raksakecha Chaechai said yesterday.

Acting on a complaint filed by Somsak Kosaisuk, a former leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, the Ombudsman's Office submitted a recommendation on September 13 last year that the Foreign Ministry review Thaksin's passport status, as issuance to a convicted felon was illegal.

The Foreign Ministry, which must respond to the Ombudsman within 30 days, in mid-October requested another 30 days to collect information on the issuance.

Since it had not heard from the Ministry since, Raksakecha said his office on Tuesday submitted a letter to the PM asking her to instruct the Foreign Ministry to heed its recommendation.

If the Foreign Ministry ignores or rejects the recommendation, Raksakecha said, the Ombudsman would report the matter to Parliament in order to obtain a full disclosure of the regulations on passport issuance, and whether the ministry had followed these regulations.

Asked if he believed Yingluck would instruct that her own brother's passport be revoked, Raksakecha said the PM must exercise her own judgement.

In a related development, a report claimed that Thaksin's personal jet had landed at Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport yesterday, and that Thaksin was staying overnight at a local luxury resort.

The former PM's legal advisor Noppadon Pattama was quick to dismiss the report as groundless, saying Thaksin was actually in Dubai.

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