Germany revokes residence permit for Thaksin | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 11.06.2009
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Germany revokes residence permit for Thaksin

Thailand's former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, is no longer welcome in Germany. A bureaucratic blunder had allowed him to reside legally in Bonn for half a year, despite his name being on a blacklist.

Thaksin Shinawatra

Thaksin's current whereabouts are unknown

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra spent six months almost unnoticed in the former German capital Bonn.

Though declared a persona non grata, Thaksin managed to enter Germany on December 29, 2008 using a Schengen visa issued in France. It allows a person to travel through much of the European Union on a single visa.

Bonn authorities then issued the residence permit for Thaksin, who used his German lawyer's address. Federal officials only learned about it in April and ordered it revoked.

"We asked Bonn to revoke the permit and they responded immediately," Hanns Schumacher, Germany's ambassador to Thailand, told Reuters on Wednesday.

Bonn authorities said Thaksin's name had not been on a list of people barred from Germany and he had presented all the necessary documents. This included a certificate from a German federal justice agency saying he had no criminal record. He had also proved he had adequate funds to live and a valid passport.

Officials said the absence of his name from the list of barred persons was the result of a data-entry oversight by staff of the German foreign ministry.

"We informed the lawyer that the permit was revoked and should Thaksin still be in Germany, his stay would be illegal and he would face detention," Schumacher said.

Options are waning

The former telecoms tycoon, who led Thailand for close to six years, was ousted from Thailand in a military coup in 2006. He was convicted in absentia of corruption and has fled a two-year jail term at home.

Germany is the latest country to shun the former leader, who continues to roam the globe with a variety of passports and elude Thai authorities who say they are trying to extradite him. Britain revoked his visa last year.

Bangkok has sought extradition agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, where Thaksin has spent time since fleeing the country while on bail. His current whereabouts are unknown.

The German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the former leader was now traveling on a Nicaraguan diplomatic passport. A Thai foreign ministry official said Thaksin would be arrested if he returned to Thailand. His Thai passport has been revoked.

Editor: Chuck Penfold

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