By Aekarach Sattaburuth and Thanida Tansubhapol
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is reported to have divorced his wife of 32 years Khunying Potjaman, in a move that has shocked many of the couple's friends and colleagues.
Thaksin told People Power party (PPP) MPs at a dinner in Hong Kong on Friday night that his marriage of more than three decades had ended.
"We divorced in order to make everybody feel comfortable," a PPP MP who was at the dinner, quoted Thaksin as saying.
The divorce was sealed at 11.00am yesterday at the Thai consulate in Hong Kong, the source said. Thaksin's announcement shocked everyone at the table which became suddenly silent, said the MP, who declined to be named. Khunying Potjaman was not at the dinner, he added.
A high-ranking government source confirmed the couple had signed the divorce papers at the Thai consulate in Hong Kong.
The divorce took place less than a month after the Supreme Court sentenced Thaksin to two years in jail and acquitted Khunying Potjaman over conflict of interest charges in the Ratchadiphisek land deal case.
The prison sentence prompted the UK to cancel entry visas for Thaksin and his wife.
A political observer said the divorce could be legally motivated to protect the couple's assets, which are mostly held in the name of Khunying Potjaman.
Thaksin's life seems like one big soap opera. In my sick and twisted mind, the first thing I thought was "maybe he was banging Lydia after all." I don't know how this will affect the cases against them or their assets. It is strange that a couple with so many assets between them can just go to an embassy and get divorced like that without a formal declaration and division of property.
Politically, this is intriguing, because who now has the power? The speculation is endless. Will one fall on his or her sword and come home and go to jail in exchange for the freedom of the other? Or will they end up testifying against each other?
The one thing I do know for sure is the worthless columnists at The Nation will have enough material to spew their blather in perpetuity. The Yoonster and Sopon are probably licking their chops at all the red meat material thrown at the floor in front of them.