Fugitive politician's son weds actress

THAILAND - The Thai entertainment industry yesterday was taken by surprise when former interior minister Vatana Asavahame's eldest son, Chonsawat "Ae" Asavahame, 45, revealed that he has tied the knot with actress Janie Thienphosuvan, 32.

Nearly all TV stations covered yesterday's press conference by the couple at his home in Samut Prakan, knocking the parliamentary deliberations about the amnesty bill out of the spotlight. Google searches in Thai language for "Janie" yesterday doubled those for "amnesty bill".

Chonsawat, who has a daughter with yesteryear singer Nantida Kaewbuasai, said the couple had registered their marriage on Tuesday, at 9.09am.

He said any legal issues between himself and Nantida had been resolved more than 10 years ago. "This is my first and last press conference in 10 years," he said. "I have been taking good care of my family and my beloved daughter. Before the marriage registration, I had a discussion with Khun Tou [Nantida] and my daughter as well as my beloved father, Khun Vatana."

Chonsawat, the mayor of Samut Prakan, said that his romance with Janie had developed over the last five months. He insisted that the actress wasn't pregnant and presented a doctor's certificate to back up his claim. He also explained that among the many photos released online about the couple's rather-secretive relationship, one photo stood out because it pictured the couple on the first occasion he took Janie to meet his father - an important person in his life.

During the press conference, Chonsawat also presented a seven-karat diamond ring to Janie. Attending members of the media also received souvenir black caps, embroidered with the couple's initials "AJ".

Vatana is currently in exile to avoid charges related to the Klong Dan corruption case. He is charged of being involved in encroaching on public land in Phang Nga.

Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith said he was now considering whether the DSI should pressure Chonsawat and Janie to reveal Vatana's whereabouts. Tarit said the agency had a duty to get Vatana to face the charges, but since the fugitive was suspected of being overseas, it was difficult to arrest him.

Office of the Attorney-General's Foreign Affairs Bureau director-general Wanchai Rujanawong said the photo of the newly wed with fugitive Vatana was reportedly taken in Macau. He said as Thailand does not have an extradition treaty with Macau, it would be difficult to move for his arrest.