19 Apr 2010

Fugitive former Thai Prime Minister could be heading to Fiji

5:50 am on 19 April 2010

Thailand's The Nation newspaper reports that the fugitive former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, is either in Fiji or on his way to Fiji after spending several days in Saudi Arabia.

His legal adviser, Noppadon Pattama, told the AFP news agency that Thaksin had been in Papua New Guinea until last Friday.

His last confirmed visit to Fiji was in July, when he also visited Tonga and Vanuatu.

The paper says Thaksin, whose Thai passport has been cancelled, may be considering setting up a base in Fiji because there is no extradition treaty with Thailand.

The Thai foreign ministry says it can only ask those countries not to allow him to use them as a base to criticise Thailand.

According to Britain's The Guardian newspaper, he uses an assumed name and has passports from Uganda, Montenegro and Nicaragua.

Last July, Thaksin was reported to be considering investing in Fiji, which has the Asia-Pacific region's worst performing economy.