Thai king strips fugitive ex-PM Thaksin of royal decorations

Thailand's 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 King Maha Vajiralongkorn was published Saturday in the Royal Gazette. The move follows a March 24 general election in which a party loyal to Thaksin claimed it won enough seats to form a coalition that would hold a majority in the House of Representatives.

Thaksin, a billionaire with populist policies, became prime minister in 2001 but was ousted by a 2006 military coup. However, his supporters have staged several political comebacks even though the military and other royalists have tried to dismantle his political machine.