Media skeptical of Montenegrin visa waiver

The Yingluck government’s visa waiver for Montenegrin citizens has drawn outcry from the media as it might have connection with the ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra who was granted Montenegrin citizenship in 2010.

Thaksin was ousted in 2006 in a military coup. Since then Thaksin has lived in exile except for a brief visit to Thailand in 2008. He was convicted by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Politician Positions of abusing his power to help his wife buy public land at an auction, and was sentenced in absentia to two years in prison. Various criminal charges await him if he returns.

Montenegrin government granted Thaksin Montenegrin citizenship in 2010 but local media there said its government has yet to explain why the country of 670,000 people granted him citizenship. But there was speculation that expected benefits from economic development would attract more investors to this country when there was report that Thaksin would bid for a small 3,700 square meter island dubbed “Hawaii of Adriatic Sea” suitable for developing to tourist spot or casino. Starting price of this tiny island is 21 million Euros and Thaksin was reported to enter joint venture with a local bank in a hotel complex in this island.

Latest report late last month has seen Thaksin posted on his Instagram saying  he was in Budva, a famous seaside resort town, with a message recommending the Montenegrin government to waive visas for citizens of many countries in the bid to attract more tourists to this country as it is becoming a new tourist attraction for tourists from Europe  in addition to Russians and Serbians.