Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Thaksin to get his passport back


Thaksin Shinawatra, the fugitive former Prime Minister, could be reissued his Thai passport within weeks as a "New Year present" from the government, Thailand's Foreign Minister said yesterday.

Mr Thaksin, 62, who lives in Dubai to avoid jail in Thailand, should be granted a regular Thai passport because no court order was issued to revoke it when he fled in 2008, Surapong Towijakchaikul said.

"We are considering returning the passport to former Prime Minister Thaksin and we expect to be able to do so within weeks," he said.

"To be fair we are reviewing the laws and we found that the action is possible ... it could be a New Year's present."

Mr Thaksin, a telecoms billionaire who once owned Manchester City FC, travels on passports issued by Nicaragua and Montenegro. He was overthrown in a coup in 2006 and later prosecuted for abuse of power and sentenced to two years' jail, but he fled the country.