The names of 84 blacklisted people, whose bank accounts have been frozen with a view to possible assets seizure following their alleged funding of the red-shirt protests last month, are to be announced today on the recommendation of the Anti-Money Laundering Office.

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Thaksin’s allies allegedly funded reds to be revealed today

The 84 have ties to ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and the money transactions among their bank accounts are suspected to have been directly involved with the protests and other crimes, including terrorism, acting secretary-general Sihanart Prayoonrat said yesterday.

They include politicians, business people and leaders of the Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship, which organised the protests.

The announcement of their names is mandated by the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), which is taking criminal action and pursuing other sanctions, including assets seizure, against them.

By the end of the century the population had reached 61 million and, with intensive urbanization, that of Greater Bangkok had quadrupled. But class and regional disparities had sharply intensified. By 1996, on the eve of the crash, the top quintile had increased its share of the national income to 57 per cent, from 49 per cent in 1976; the lowest quintile saw its share diminish from 6 per cent to 4 per cent in the same period. After four decades of high-speed capitalist development Thailand had achieved one of the most unequal income distributions in the world, worse than those of its East and Southeast Asian neighbours, and comparable to the worst cases in Latin America.

Direct cash was pumped into the grass roots economy, including cash 2,000 baht handouts to nine million civil servants and workers nationwide

By the 1970s, landlessness had become a national problem. Massive peasant protests resulted in a land-reform programme, instituted by the civilian government installed following the 1973 uprising. In order to appease the big landowners, however, private lands were not touched by the programme; instead, forests and public lands that had been encroached upon or become deforested over the years were allocated for distribution to landless peasants—in effect taking them from the public and giving them to the poor. In the following decade the government, with World Bank support, initiated a land-ownership survey to promote investment and farming. However, given widespread corruption among local officials, what actually took place was a wholesale privatization of community lands for purposes such as building tourist resorts, hotels, golf courses and housing estates, or securing bank loans on the unlawfully acquired property to speculate on the stock market.

Thaksin’s allies allegedly funded reds to be revealed today

It represents one of few times in recent years that fiscal and monetary policies have been complementarily calibrated. A grinding political conflict, pitting supporters and detractors of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a 2006 military coup, has hobbled successive governments’ ability to devise and implement effective economic policies.
The debilitating conflict climaxed last November when military-linked anti-government protestors closed Bangkok’s two international airports for over a week, crippling the money-spinning tourism and air freight dependent export sectors. The Bank of Thailand has estimated the closure cost the Thai economy as much as 290 billion baht, with hotels estimated to have lost 140 billion baht due to cancellations.

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