- Title: CHINA: Former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra throws gala birthday dinner
- Date: 26th July 2012
- Summary: HONG KONG, CHINA (JULY 26, 2012) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FORMER THAI PRIME MINISTER, THAKSIN SHINAWATRA, GREETING GUESTS AT BIRTHDAY BANQUET GUESTS TAKING PICTURES SHINAWATRA WALKING GUESTS TAKING PICTURES (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER THAI PRIME MINISTER, THAKSIN SHINAWATRA, SAYING: "I always come to a place where I can meet with my supporters and friends. This is a place where I can meet with supporters and friends...No, no, I'm a tourist." VARIOUS OF BIRTHDAY DINNER
- Embargoed: 10th August 2012 13:00
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Topics: Politics,People
- Reuters ID: LVA9TV3HH1TP1L0MIFCOOEWJ79UG
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, wanted at home for a graft conviction, celebrated his 63rd birthday in Hong Kong on Thursday (July 26), with a lavish banquet.
The self-exiled tycoon greeted his hundred guests, many of whom had flown in from Thailand for the party.
When questioned whether he was on a business visit in Hong Kong, he said he was visiting just as a tourist.
"I always come to a place where I can meet with my supporters and friends. This is a place where I can meet with supporters and friends. No, no, I'm a tourist," Thaksin said.
During a speech, which was played to the Pheu Thai Party headquarters via a video link, he said that it will not be long before he can return to Thailand and he called for support for constitutional changes currently being pushed through by his sister, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Opponents of the proposed constitutional changes say that one undeclared aim was to pave the way for Shinawatra to return to Thailand without serving time in jail.
A populist former telecoms billionaire, he is adored by the poor but reviled by the royalist establishment and military, which toppled him in a coup in 2006.
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