CHIANGRAI – The News of Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra visiting the township of Tachilek Myanmar next week has spread throughout the Northern Red Shirt Community.
Thousands of red-shirt supporters in the North will travel to meet former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra when he visits Myanmar next week. The actual day of date of Thaksin Shinawatra’s arrival has not yet been finalized but that hasn’t stop the thousands from flocking to see him.
Pichit Tamoon, leader of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) in Chiang Mai, said excitement is growing among Thaksin’s supporters.
“All the red shirts in Chiang Mai really want to meet and talk to Thaksin,” Mr Pichit said. “We miss him so much and want to stay close to him.”
Mr Pichit said when Thaksin travelled to Vientiane in Laos in April to celebrate the Songkran festival, he and about 300 red-shirt supporters from Chiang Mai rented five coaches to make the trip to meet the deposed prime minister.
Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai Itthidej Kaewluang said Thaksin’s visit is attracting a lot of attention from red shirts in the North, especially Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai.
“As far as we know more than 10,000 red shirts have already obtained their border passes to enter Tachilek to meet him there,” Mr Itthidej said.
He said the meeting will be purely social and will not involve any political activities.
Jiranant Janthawong, leader of a red-shirt group in Chiang Rai, said at least a thousand Thaksin supporters from Chiang Rai are securing border passes ahead of the visit.
Noppadon Pattama, Thaksin’s legal adviser, said Thaksin will arrive in Myanmar from Dubai in the middle of next week.
The trip will include visits to temples, during which Thaksin will make offerings, he said, adding that the itinerary has not been finalised.
He confirmed Thaksin would meet Pheu Thai MPs as well as his red-shirt supporters who travel to Myanmar to meet him.
Mr Noppadon denied Thaksin would use this opportunity to discuss investment in the Dawei deep-sea port with Myanmar businessmen.
“This is not his business,” Mr Noppadon said, adding that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra can deal with the Dawei port issue.
Thaksin will spend two nights at a hotel located just 2km from the Thai-Myanmar border, a Myanmar government source said.
Some of Thaksin’s close associates who were high-level politicians in Thailand had travelled to Tachilek several times to survey the venue where the former premier would be staying, the source said.
Myanmar authorities have not yet issued an official notice about Thaksin’s visit, the source said. Expected arrival dates of Thaksin have varied.