Thursday, 28 February 2008

Ex-PM Thaksin vows to fight charges, restore reputation

BANGKOK, Feb 28 (TNA) - Thailand's ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, repeating his intention to refrain from politics, announced Thursday he would spend his time back in the country fighting charges against him and restoring his tarnished reputation.

Flanked by his wife Pojaman and three children, Mr. Thaksin told a press conference at the luxurious Peninsula Hotel that he felt disheartened to have his fingerprints taken before the authorities as if he was a "vital criminal."

He disclosed that he wanted to return to his homeland the next day after the September 19, 2006 coup but the situation was far from normal at that time.

"I have to apologise for what has happend in Thailand. I have finally decided to return home in light of the relaxing situation after the [December 23] general election," Mr. Thaksin said on arrival at Suvarnabhumi airport on a Thai Airways International flight from Hong Kong Thursday morning.

The deposed premier called on anyone who has been worried about his political rivalry or revenge to take it easy for he has decided to live a peaceful and constructive life.

"I'm 59 years old and life is not that long," said the former prime minister. "My utmost desire is to spend a happy life with my family. I want to work for charity and sports"

Mr. Thaksin apologised to well-wishers at the airport for not stopping by to talk to them because "I didn't feel comfortable with the security system."

He added that he wanted Thailand to be back on its own feet given the mounting economic concerns the country has been encountering, whether the subprime crisis or the rising oil prices.

Mr. Thaksin and his family later moved to a luxury suite at the Peninsula where they would stay overnight. It was reported that he has booked 11 rooms, each Bt106,000 (US$ 3,312) a night, on the 33rd-35th floors. (TNA)