Thais fight over "Thaksin, Fight" energy drink

ReutersIndia

Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:59am

 

BANGKOK (Reuters) – A new energy drink — “Thaksin, Fight” — has led to fisticuffs even before it goes on sale across Thailand next month, the beverage maker said on Thursday.

The drink has been a hit in taste tests with northern Thais who delivered thumping election victories for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2001 and 2005 before he was ousted in a bloodless 2006 coup.

But southerners who back the opposition Democrat Party have shunned the sweet-and-sour drink bearing Thaksin’s name, which is a literal word for south.

“A customer at a grocery store in the south punched our salesman in the face when he offered a sample to a shopkeeper,” drinkmaker Natchapol Supatta told Bangkok’s Business Radio.

“The shopowner decided not to store the drink in his fridge”.

Thailand is home to the globally-known energy drink “Red Bull”, or “Krating Daeng” in Thai, which originally catered to labourers and farmers to help them stay awake.

Natchapol said his drink had nothing to do with politics, but he just wanted to cash in on Thaksin’s popularity since his return from exile in February.

Thaksin, who is fighting graft charges, repeatedly insists his political career is over, but few Thais believe him.

The billionaire tycoon hosted an economic forum in Bangkok on Wednesday where he pledged to use his foreign business contacts to spur investment in Thailand.

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