DUBAI – After being away from Twitter for over a year, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra chose April Fool’s Day yesterday to come back – to rebut rumors he had died in an accident in Dubai and say he will soon post articles on Facebook to share stories he thinks interesting.
April 1st, or April Fool’s Day as it is known in many countries around the world. Thus, the news media, including this Bangkok Post learning website, was full of strange stories that were clearly meant as jokes on unsuspecting readers.
One deception that had many believers yesterday morning, however, was a report that Thaksin Shinawatra had died in a road accident in Dubai. To add credibility to the report, photos were posted of a badly damaged luxury car.
One reason that many people didn’t immediately dismiss the story as a joke was that it violated one of the basic principles of an April Fool’s hoax. It wasn’t funny.
Thaksin’s son, Panthongtae, quickly went on Facebook to express his displeasure, describing the rumour as “too harsh”.
“Hello Thailand! Sawasdee krub, my dear Thai brothers and sisters. I have been away for a long time, I’m back here to greet you again as I received phone calls from my family since the morning. They told me there were rumours that I might have died in an accident in Dubai. Then many of the red shirts and people who were concerned also called me. Here please allow me to tweet and clarify that I am doing fine. There was no such accident as [in] the fabricated story. It’s April 1, April Fools’ Day,” he posted.
Thaksin’s last tweet before this was on November 1, 2011 when he posted a message about rehabilitation after the flood.
Thaksin’s son Panthongtae posted on Facebook that his dad had returned to Thailand and was already on his way to Chiang Mai where he planned to contest a by-election later this month in place of his younger sister Yaowapa Wongsawat.
Panthongtae said his joke was a reaction to rumors spread by anti-Thaksin groups about his dad having an accident.