Thaksin asset ruling: Images from Thailand’s Supreme Court today

Thailand’s Supreme Court ruled a few hours ago that Thaksin must surrender $1.4 of $2.3 billion in frozen assets.

Here’s an NYT story with the details:

The Supreme Court on Friday confiscated $1.4 billion in frozen assets from the fugitive former prime minister, Thaksin Sinawatra, after finding him guilty of illegally concealing his ownership of a family company and abusing his power to benefit companies he owned.

But it softened the blow by allowing him to keep the remainder of his $2.3 billion fortune, saying that “to seize all the money would be unfair because some of it was made before Thaksin became prime minister.”

I spent several hours at the court house today. Here are some images. As you’ll see, there were dozens of police, crowds of TV crews and photographers, and not many red shirt protesters (though many of them gathered elsewhere).


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Thaksin asset verdict: today’s front pages

Here’s quick look at the front pages of today’s Bangkok Post and the Nation:

The Bangkok Post went with a photo of the Thaksin family and the headline “CRISIS here to stay.”

It’s below the fold in the (crappy cell phone) image here, but a pull-quote for the lead story ((Note that the Post‘s Web site looks different at the moment.)) reads, “Red shirts target not just the govt but also the elite, which the military will protect.”


The Nation, meanwhile, has this: “Let JUSTICE Be Done,” says the headline. It may be too small to read in this image, but it continues with an ominous “though the heavens may fall…”


(Nation image via Nation editor @suthichai on Twitter.)

More soon…

(Update: Welcome, BP readers. For more posts about Thailand, be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed and follow me on Twitter.)


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…


Anticipation of Friday’s court ruling on Thaksin’s assets


I’ll be writing more about this in future posts, but for the time being, I wanted to point out this WSJ story from today: “Thailand Braces for Thaksin Ruling.” It provides a good overview of the anticipation surrounding Friday’s supreme court ruling on Thaksin’s assets:

Thailand’s leaders are bracing themselves for possible unrest Friday, when a court is due to rule on whether to seize billions of dollars frozen in the bank accounts of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his family.

The government has begun massing 20,000 police in the capital in the lead-up to the decision, which local media dub “Judgment Day.”

Political analysts say the verdict—which many expect to trigger the seizure of at least part of the $2.26 billion frozen in Mr. Thaksin’s family accounts—presents a dilemma for the country’s military-backed government.

For a sense of the local media’s treatment on the issue, as referenced in the story, see the Bangkok Post‘s special section, “Thaksin’s Judgment Day.”

Another story worth checking out is this Reuters piece, “Thai ex-PM Thaksin’s assets seizure case.”

Again, more on this in the coming days, I’m sure…

(Image source: WSJ.)