Agam's Gecko
Monday, September 25, 2006

nother opinion survey was released yesterday, conducted by Assumption University's polling unit. This one was not nationwide, covering only Bangkok and nearby provinces. The Nation newspaper posted a bulletin yesterday with some of the results: Next PM should be honest: survey
Assumption University's Abac Poll Research Centre asked 1,550 respondents in Bangkok and its nearby provinces between September 22 and September 23 what qualifications the next prime minister should possess.
Of the top 10 selected qualities, 9 of them were chosen by more than 90% of respondents. These were, in descending order, Honesty, Courage to think and act, Tolerance, Sacrifice, Broad knowledge and abilities, Does not take advantage of people, Politeness, Dedication, and Achievement.

Ranked 10th, with 24%: Business success and wealth. Take that, tycoons!

Bangkok Post followed up with a few more details on the Abac poll: New PM must be honest above all
On military officers:

92.1 per cent said they are dependable

89.1 per cent the military made them feel safer

87 per cent answer that the military worked for the people

On the results of the coup:

57.5 per cent believe unity will improve

25.6 per cent expect no change in political outlook

4.5 per cent believe politics will get worse

On politicians

34.5 per cent believe the coup will result in more honest politicians

20.4 per cent see no possible change

14.8 per cent said politicians will get worse.
Of course there will be suspicions in some quarters that these polls are rigged, unrepresentative, part of the conspiracy, yada yada. Both the Abac Centre and the Suan Dusit polling institute cited a few days ago have been around for years and have good reputations.

The CDRM's official website is online, under the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology site. There's an English section with some translations of material, but be warned that links to documents point to pdf files (not marked as such, and not apparent from the urls). Wai to 2Bangkok, and be sure to check his updates -- with lots of shots of the newspaper front pages, political cartoons and other pics, translations from the local papers, etc. Almost like being here!

There's a lot of talk that Thaksin moved some of his wealth abroad before leaving the country 10 days before the coup. AP reports that a Thai Airways official is now saying that he took a lot with him too. This story was on the CNN site, but it's an AP story. I don't see any CNN-written stories on their site in the past few days, just reports from other wireservices. Our rookie in Bangkok, Dan Rivers, doesn't seem to have written anything since the 20th as far as I can see.
Thaksin departed for Finland to begin a foreign tour on September 9, loading up his government-assigned aircraft with 58 large suitcases and trunks, the official of the national carrier said.

The prime minister's aircraft, named Thai Koofah, was then inexplicably left parked in Finland for more than a week as Thaksin continued on his trip on other transportation.

A second aircraft carrying 56 suitcases -- an Airbus 340-600 -- was dispatched from Bangkok to meet up with the prime minister just days before the coup, the Thai Airways official said.

Another official in the airline industry, requesting anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity, confirmed the second flight, saying it left on September 17 -- two days before the military toppled Thaksin in a bloodless coup.

It was unclear why Thaksin needed a second aircraft when his own plane was already assigned to fly him to Europe and the United States.
The unnamed Thai Airways official said only Thaksin's aides were allowed to supervise the loading of the second aircraft.
"I want the (military) council to investigate this because we, the employees of Thai Airways International, believe that Thaksin exploited the company through his power as prime minister by using a company airplane to transport his assets out of the country," the official said.
A week before Thaksin left for Finland, allegations were made in the media that he had chartered two Russian aircraft to remove assets from the country. In January, he sold his telecoms giant Shin Corp. to the Singapore state investment company, for a tax-free profit of almost $2 billion USD.
Rumors of such an airlift by Russian aircraft have continued to circulate in the international airline community in Bangkok but could not be confirmed.


The head of the country's central bank, Pridiyathorn Devakul, has said the proceeds from the sale were probably still in Thailand.

"I estimate that no large amount of Thai baht has been converted into overseas currencies. However, I don't know whether the money could have been packed in suitcases and taken abroad," he said last week.
Thaksin's wife left the country this morning, bound for London with her housekeeper.

By the way, Mr. Rivers the excitable purveyor of boatloads of disinformation that fateful night, seems to have arrived here very recently. Last month he was in London interviewing Abu Abdullah, sidekick of the ex-Finsbury Mosque leader Imam Hook, er I mean Abu Hamza. AllahPundit had some edited video of the interview posted the day it aired, August 18. He was also reporting on the London terror bombing case that week with an interview with one of the suspects' lawyers. So in the interest of fairness to Dan, maybe he just happened to be on holiday in Thailand when the coup took place.


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