HM the King strips Thaksin of royal decorations

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Thaksin Shinawatra. (AP Photo)

Bangkok (AP) — His Majesty the King has stripped fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra of his royal decorations, citing his 2008 flight to escape serving a two-year prison term on a conflict of interest conviction and other legal cases against him.

Thai media reported that the Royal Command from HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn was published Saturday in the Royal Gazette.

Last week, a military award Thaksin has been given was revoked by the army, with the explanation that he failed to deserve the honor.

The hostility of royalists towards Thaksin has been evident since he was in office over a decade ago, though it was never expressed directly by members of the royal family, which is by tradition is above politics.

HM the King’s older sister, Princess Ubolratana, caused an uproar in February when the pro-Thaksin Thai Raksa Chart Party registered her as its nominee for prime minister. The move was initially seen as a clever ploy by Thaksin’s political machine to immunize itself against charges that it opposed the monarchy. It backfired badly when the King declared it inappropriate and unconstitutional, and the party was dissolved by the courts before the election, hurting the pro-Thaksin forces.