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Thai King Leads Ex-PM Cremation

November 7, 1998

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ King Bhumibol Adulyadej led thousands of mourners in a cremation ceremony Saturday for a former leader of Thailand known as the ``no problem prime minister.″

Politicians, family members and friends witnessed the cremation of Chatichai Choonhavan at the Thepsirin Temple in Bangkok after he had lain in state for 150 days.

The cigar-smoking, wine-loving Chatichai died in London on May 5 from complications from cancer. He was 76.

He earned his moniker because of his mantra-like answer when he was questioned about Thailand’s troubles during his time as prime minister, 1988 to 1991.

The period was an economic boom for Thailand, and Chatichai and his government were constantly beset by allegations of corruption _ leading to the military coup that toppled him. Civilian rule returned in 1992.

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