Thailand may return passport to ex-PM Thaksin


Thaksin Shinawatra in London in 2007.



Thailand's government says it may return the passport of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as a "New Year's gift," the Bangkok Post reported.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul on Friday morning said authorities were looking into the legality of reissuing a passport to Thaksin, but that he expected it would happen before the end of this month.

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Surapong said it would be an ordinary passport, and not a diplomat passport.

Thaksin's passport was revoked in 2009 by Thailand's previous government under Abhisit Vejjajiva, which accused him of encouraging his supporters to protest.

Thaksin lives in exile in Dubai, and has been issued with travel documents by Montenegro and Nicaragua, the BBC reported.

Thaksin's lawyer, Noppadon Pattama, said his client was unaware of the news he may be reissued with his Thai passport, and that the move was a symbolic gesture of “justice,” that would have no bearing on his ability to travel.

Thaksin was overthrown as prime minister in a coup in 2006 while he was out of the country.

His sister Yingluck Shinawatra won power in a landslide election earlier this year, spurring rumors that Thaksin may return from exile.