Thaksin Shinawatra bowls seized by Thai police

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Thaksin Shinawatra (file image)Image source, PA
Image caption,
Thaksin Shinawatra now lives in self-imposed exile

Thai police have seized thousands of small bowls carrying a message signed by ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

They also arrested the female politician from his party in whose house they were found.

She has now been charged with sedition, which can carry seven years in prison.

It is the latest sign of the tense dispute between Thaksin supporters and Thailand's military government, says BBC East Asia editor Jill McGivering.

The bowls at the centre of the row are small, red and plastic - and typically used for water.

Written on them is "The situation may be hot but you can be cooled by this water", along with Mr Thaksin's signature.

The move comes several days after another woman posted a picture of herself on Facebook smiling as she held up a similar bowl. She too has been charged with sedition.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Yingluck Shinawatra is accused of negligence

Our East Asia editor says this shows the ruling military junta's determination to stifle shows of support for Mr Thaksin and his sister Yingluck, who have both served as prime minister and both face corruption charges that they deny.

Mr Thaksin has been living in self-imposed exile for 10 years, while Ms Yingluck is facing a decade in jail over a negligence charge linked to farming subsidies distributed while she was in office.

Thailand's struggle to overcome its deep and bitter political divide has been reflected in some of the social media responses to this latest incident.

Some said it sounded like a late April Fool's joke. One wrote that the bowls should be given away with bags of rotten rice as a reminder of Mr Thaksin's alleged corruption.

Others described the police response as absolutely ridiculous, urging them to concentrate on more serious issues than free plastic bowls.