Why doesn't the US capture and extradite Thaksin Shinawatra?

Thaksin Shinawatra is Thailand’s former Prime Minister. In early 2010 he was convicted on five counts of some pretty serious corruption charges. Since then, he has been on “self imposed exile”, which essentially means he is a fugitive from the laws of his own country. Today he arrived in New York on a tourist visa and posed for a photo op in front of a Thai restaurant.

The US and Thailand have a bilateral extradition treaty in place. I have also been told that convicted felons cannot get tourist visas to the US, although I am still digging for a cite on that one. But if that’s true, one wonders how he could have even gotten through US Customs/Border Control in the first place.

Why doesn’t the USA capture and extradite a person in this kind of situation?

Has Thailand asked the US to do that?

I don’t know how extradition treaties work. Presumably if a country issues multiple arrest warrants for a fugitive, that means they want him back, right? Is the US not acting because Thailand didn’t say “Simon Says”?

Thailand has to go through the proper channels in accordance with its extradition treaty before the US will attempt to detain him. It is not enough for there to be active warrants in Thailand.

Bringing him back for trial might lead to trouble with his former supporters. It could very well be that Thailand is satisfied with the current situation, and as long as Shinawatra stays gone and doesn’t cause trouble, they’re happy.

Might have something to do with the fact that the current prime minister of Thailand is his sister.

I was gonna say. Yingluck Shinawatra - a bold step forward for gender politics, a massive plunge backwards for every other kind of politics.

I don’t think the Thai government has formally asked for his extradition, and it might make a difference that his convictions could be explained away as being politically-motivated and not a reflection of actual criminal guilt.

Paging Siam Sam

Thailand has to ask us to first. Edit: Oops I guess like 5 other people said that too. Sorry, cluttering up the thread.

Seems like there is no Interpol red notice for thaksin

My understanding is that while it is true convicted felons normally cannot get tourist visas, waivers can be given. And this is a man with importrant friends. I know he is on the board of at least one international company or organization along with such luminaries as George HW Bush among others, but I don’t recall which one. (Ones, plural, really.) He is a dollar billionaire and has many resources.

That is not very likely to happen, considering his baby sister is currently the prime minister of Thailand. And that the government is filled with his supporters. And that he still controls the ruling party, the Pheu Thai (various spellings are out there). And that he is himself still the de facto prime minister, ruling from abroad. Cabinet members and other top government officials routinely travel to wherever he is to consult and take his orders, and I am not exagerrating in the least. Hell, the national police chief himself just traveled to Hong Kong to consult with him. Story here. Note this quote from the story, from a deputy prime minister no less: “Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung Wednesday responded to the criticism saying he did not think Pol Gen Priewpan violated any law by meeting his former brother-in-law, who is celebrating his 63rd birthday in Hong Kong today. 'Why was it inappropriate?” Mr Chalerm shot back when asked to comment by reporters. He said Pol Gen Priewpan had taken leave to travel to Hong Kong, and could not be considered to have failed to perform his duty because the national police chief had no duties to perform overseas. ‘Our laws do not apply in Hong Kong,’ Mr Chalerm said.’'

And by the way, on the occasion of that recent 64th birthday, the Pheu Thai Party distributed 64,000 cupcakes nationwide.

The story mentions that the national police chief is his “former” brother-in-law. Thaksin and his wife divorced awhile after the coup in a thinly veiled attempt to protect family assets from being seized due to his conviction. He and his wife are still together for all intents and purposes, and the national police chief is her brother.

Interpol and the US government under both Presidents Bush Jr and Obama pretty much consider Thaksin’s corruption conviction a political move and not a real conviction. The problem is that it’s not true. He’s such a divisive figure that I can see where people may feel that going after him was just politics. But in reality, he’s Al Capone. Imagine if Al Capone had become president of the US, and you have Thaksin. He belongs in jail, but I doubt he’ll ever spend a single day there. I have no proof myself, but you cannot tell me he did not personally issue the order to start burning Bangkok two years ago. Or for his minions to set off the New Year’s Eve bombings that dotted the city right after the military coup of 2006. If he returns, there will be rioting in the streets again by the yellow shirts (the anti-Thaksin faction). There threatens to be rioting today, Thursday, by the red shirts (pro-Thaksin), because the Criminal Court is due to issue its ruling revoking bail for some red-shirt leaders, all related to the rioting two years ago. Story on today’s happenings here.

The issue of Thaksin is a charged one. But when I look at how people in the US get all up in arms over the likes of Bush or Romney or Cheney, I have to laugh, because here, in Thaksin, resides true evil. It would suit a lot of people just fine if someone would just put a bullet in his head. My wife herself would literally be dancing in the streets, I have little doubt of that.

BTW: In Thai one always uses the first name in reference and never the last or patronymic. Thaksin is always used, never Shinawatra. This is the same for everyone, even Westerners here. If my name were John Smith, I would always be called Mr. John and never ever Mr. Smith. This may be helpful to avoid confusion in case the thread continues on.

Oops! I meant 63rd birthday and 63,000 cupcakes. (Born on July 26, 1949.)

Well, Chalerm and his family are also quite the charmers, aren’t they?

Oh, they sure are. And Duangchalerm, who changed his name to Duang – all three brothers changed their names slightly back then on the advice of an astrologer (really) – not only got away scot-free with killing the cop in cold blood (guess the astrologer knew his stuff), he was just last week admitted to the police force.

Mentioned in that link is that the young son of the cop who was murdered joined the police this past May. No word on how he feels about this.

BTW: For those keeping up with matters political over here, while Thaksin remains de facto prime minister and baby sister Yingluck the nominal prime minister, the actual PM-on-the-ground is Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong. He’s reportedly Yingluck’s minder, guiding her as per orders from Thaksin. Very ambitious, has prime-ministerial ambitions of his own. He is definitely one to watch. Vain as all get out, in the news every day. To me, he bears a passing resemblance to Steven Seagal. If Seagal were Thai, I think this is what he would look like. Here’s his photo.

Heh! :smiley: Thaksin got a comeuppance this past weekend in Los Angeles’ Thaitown. His scheduled a speech was dashed by a yellow-shirt protest. Story here. (Bet the cops thought they might try to march on and take over LAX. :D)

If the US is not going to extradite the rat bastard, then the very least they could do is expel him for using his visa to conduct political activities.

The word “appalling” seems sadly inadequate.