More on tomorrow’s Thaksin asset ruling: NYT and WSJ stories of note


Two more stories I wanted to point out as we approach tomorrow’s verdict on ousted ex-Prime Minister Thaksin’s frozen assets.

  • First, the New York Times has this piece: “Thailand Bracing for Ruling on Thaksin’s Assets“:

    It begins:

    Friday is “judgment day” in Thailand, with a court set to decide whether to confiscate $2.3 billion in frozen assets belonging to the fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

    The government is warning of potential violence by Mr. Thaksin’s supporters if the ruling goes against him. Soldiers and the police have been put on alert, checkpoints are in place, government buildings are under guard and judges have been offered safe houses.

    Some analysts call the warnings propaganda to discredit the opposition, which has said it will mobilize only a small crowd on Friday at the courthouse in Bangkok where the ruling is to be announced.

    Months of demonstrations by Mr. Thaksin’s supporters, continuing rumors of coups and small, symbolic acts of violence, like the firing of a grenade into the empty office of the army commander, have set the capital on edge.

    Newspapers have stoked the sense of urgency, with daily countdowns to “judgment day” and with headlines like one that appeared on Wednesday, in bold, red type, in The Nation: “Exclusive Interview: Absolutely No Coup.”

    And there’s this snippet about the red shirt movement:

    A telecommunications tycoon, Mr. Thaksin apparently retains enough wealth abroad to finance a nationwide political machine. A seizure of his assets frozen in Thailand should have no effect on this, said Thongchai Winijakul, a Thai historian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    “It has been almost four years, and the movement is getting bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger without this frozen money,” he said.

    There’s also this quote at the end from Thongchai:

    “The best option for the reds to win is by election,” said Mr. Thongchai, the Thai historian. “No matter what, if they just wait, they have the vote. They are not stupid. They can wait.”

  • There’s also this opinion piece in the WSJ today from academic Thitinan Pongsudhirak: “Moving Beyond Thaksin.” (Note: I understand this story may be subscriber-only, but I’m able to access it fine, viewing it as a non-logged-in subscriber.)

    Thailand is dreading the Supreme Court’s verdict on former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s frozen $2.3 billion in assets, scheduled for tomorrow. No matter how his wealth is disposed, given Thailand’s political polarization the only certainty is that no one will be satisfied. In fact, the conflict will likely intensify as pro- and anti-Thaksin protagonists hunker down for a long battle of attrition.

    Read the whole thing.

(All emphasis mine.)

I’ll be blogging here at (and tweeting) about the verdict tomorrow, as well. So stay tuned…

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