King Strips Ex-PM Thaksin of Paramilitary Rank

In this March 9, 2016, file photo, Thailand's former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra responds to questions during an interview in New York. Photo: Frank Franklin II / Associated Press
In this March 9, 2016, file photo, Thailand's former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra responds to questions during an interview in New York. Photo: Frank Franklin II / Associated Press

BANGKOK — King Vajiralongkorn on Monday stripped the fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra of his leading rank in the Volunteer Defense Corps.

In a decree published in the Royal Gazette, Thaksin’s rank as a general of the state paramilitary service was removed by request of the Interior Ministry, which oversees the body. The order cites him fleeing convictions in several criminal cases as the reason.

It’s the latest in a series of moves against the billionaire, who became Thailand’s prime minister in 2001 before a military coup ousted him in 2006. A royal decree on March 30 stripped Thaksin of his royal decorations, a few days after the army recalled a special medal granted to him as a prominent alumnus of its academy.

These decisions come amidst the power struggle that is the aftermath of the general election on 24 March. Both the junta-backed Phalang Pracharath and Thaksin-aligned Pheu Thai have claimed victory and their right to form a coalition.