7. The Chinnawat(Shinawatra) Family, which Produced A Prime Minister
The Chinnawat family was quite successful in the business of the production and distribution of silk fabrics in Chiangmai. Prime Minister Thaksin Chinnawat, who took office in 2001, comes from this family. His father, Loet, represented Chiangmai as a member of the parliament in 1969 and his uncle, Suraphan, for six terms between 1976 and 1995, respectively. Thaksin is not the first in the family to step into national politics.
Thaksin studied at a military preparatory school and then at the police academy, becoming a police officer. He resigned from the police force after learning computer technology. He then went into the telecommunication business, an area with no links to the family business of silk fabrics. After making a fortune in a short period of time, he entered politics in the 1990s. He went into the 2001 general elections with the backing of his own political party, Thai Rak Thai, and made full use of his financial muscle to win a historic landslide victory, becoming prime minister.