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FUGITIVE EX-PM THAKSIN STRIPPED OF ROYAL DECORATIONS

FUGITIVE EX-PM THAKSIN STRIPPED OF ROYAL DECORATIONS

The fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been stripped of his royal decorations, the palace announced Saturday.

The Royal Command from King Vajiralongkorn, published in the Royal Gazette, said Thaksin’s 2008 flight to escape serving a two-year prison term on a conflict of interest conviction and other legal cases against him was “extremely inappropriate.”

The move follows a March 24 general election in which the Pheu Thai party – loyal to Thaksin – claimed it won enough seats to form a coalition that would hold a majority in the House of Representatives.

It also came two days after a top military figure said the army has stripped Thaksin of his special award as a prominent alumnus of the Armed Forces Preparation Academy because he no longer “deserves the honor.” He however denied the decision was politically motivated.

Thaksin, a billionaire with populist policies, became prime minister in 2001 but was ousted by a 2006 military coup. However, his supporters have staged several political comebacks even though the military and other royalists have tried to dismantle his political machine.

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