The
1,000 IDEAS
e-Book

Breaking News English

HOME  |   DONATE  |  000s MORE FREE LESSONS
 
 

 

E-mail this lesson to someone who would like to use it in classroom or study with it.

Follow this site on Facebook.

 

000's more free lessons.

   

 


 
 

Date: August 1, 2008
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: 1:51 - 871KB - 64kbps
Online Test: Recreate the text
 
1,000 IDEAS FOR ESL CLASSES
Breaking News English.com's e-Book

Related materials from ESL Discussions.com on Thailand and tax.

THE ARTICLE

Ex-Thai PM’s wife guilty of tax evasion

The wife of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been sentenced to three years in jail for tax evasion. Thailand’s criminal courts found Potjaman Shinawatra guilty of failing to pay $16.3 million in taxes. Her case relates to a transfer of 4.5 million shares in the family company, Shin Corporation. Mrs Shinawatra told the court that the share transfer was simply a gift and was not taxable. Prosecutors disagreed and said it was a business deal and therefore she should have paid tax on it. Shinawatra told the court she was completely innocent of any wrongdoing. The high-profile case was televised nationwide. Mrs Shinawatra’s husband and children looked on gloomily as the verdict was read out.


 
 

The judge’s decision could have serious consequences for Thaksin Shinawatra. He is accused of a series of offences including major fraud, corruption and abuse of political power. Prosecutors will charge the former Prime Minister of redirecting funds from an illegal $120-million loan to Burma into his own bank account, and of a shady transfer of government land into his wife’s name. Thais are split over whether Mr Shinawatra should face trial. He is still seen as a hero by millions of farmers and poor people. A lecturer from a top Bangkok university said the convictions of Mr and Mrs Shinawatra would be the “beginning of transparency, legitimacy and counter-corruption” in Thailand.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. TAX: Walk around the class and talk to other students about taxes. Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

jail / tax evasion / court / shares / family company / gifts / wrongdoing / guilty verdict / judge’s decision / major fraud / abuse of political power / shady deals / transparency

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. CELEBRITY JUSTICE: Do celebrities in your country get the same punishments as ordinary people? With your partner(s), write down the sentences you would give your country’s leader for these crimes. Change partners and share your sentences.

Crime

Sentence

Tax evasion

 

Pocketing public funds

 

Election fraud

 

Punching a reporter

 

Smoking cannabis

 

Selling national secrets

 

War crimes

 

4. QUICK DEBATE: Students A strongly believe that some people in society should receive kinder court sentences; Students B strongly believe no one is above the law and everyone should get the same sentence for a crime. Change partners again and talk about your roles and conversations.

5. HEADLINE PREDICTION: With your partner(s), use the words in the “Chat” activity above to predict what the news article will be about. Once you have your story, change partners and share them. Who was closest to the real story?

6. COURT: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘court’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

The wife of a former Thai prime minister has been sentenced to jail.

T / F

b.

The wife stole 4.5 million shares from a government corporation.

T / F

c.

She said the shares were a gift and that she was completely innocent.

T / F

d.

The court case was televised live throughout Thailand.

T / F

e.

The former prime minister could be joining his wife in prison.

T / F

f.

A vast majority of Thais want the former prime minister to go to jail.

T / F

g.

Many poor people in Thailand think the former prime minister is a hero.

T / F

h.

A lecturer said imprisoning the couple would be good for Thailand.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

1.

former

a.

present

2

jail

b.

divided

3.

gift

c.

results

4.

innocent

d.

suspicious

5.

verdict

e.

prison

6.

consequences

f.

in the clear

7.

abuse

g.

ex-

8.

shady

h.

openness

9.

split

i.

decision

10.

transparency

j.

misuse

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

1.

sentenced to

a.

$16.3 million in taxes

2

failing to pay

b.

as a hero by millions

3.

the share transfer was

c.

wrongdoing

4.

innocent of any

d.

for Thaksin Shinawatra

5.

Mrs Shinawatra’s husband and children

e.

of government land

6.

serious consequences

f.

three years in jail

7.

accused

g.

simply a gift

8.

a shady transfer

h.

transparency

9.

He is still seen

i.

looked on gloomily

10.

the beginning of

j.

of a series of offences

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

The wife of __________ Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been sentenced to three years in jail for tax evasion. Thailand’s criminal courts __________ Potjaman Shinawatra guilty of failing to pay $16.3 million in taxes. Her case relates to a __________ of 4.5 million shares in the family company, Shin Corporation. Mrs Shinawatra told the court that the share transfer was __________ a gift and was not __________. Prosecutors disagreed and said it was a business deal and therefore she should have paid tax on it. Shinawatra told the court she was completely __________ of any wrongdoing. The high-profile __________ was televised nationwide. Mrs Shinawatra’s husband and children looked on gloomily as the __________ was read out.

 

simply
case
found
innocent
verdict
former
transfer
taxable

The judge’s decision could have __________ consequences for Thaksin Shinawatra. He is accused of a __________ of offences including major fraud, corruption and __________ of political power. Prosecutors will charge the former Prime Minister of redirecting funds from an illegal $120-million loan to Burma into his __________ bank account, and of a shady transfer of government land into his wife’s __________. Thais are split over whether Mr Shinawatra should __________ trial. He is still seen as a __________ by millions of farmers and poor people. A lecturer from a top Bangkok university said the convictions of Mr and Mrs Shinawatra would be the “__________ of transparency, legitimacy and counter-corruption” in Thailand.

 

face
 
series
own
beginning
serious
hero
abuse
name

LISTENING:  Listen and fill in the spaces.

The ________________ Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been sentenced to three years in jail for tax evasion. Thailand’s ______________ found Potjaman Shinawatra guilty of ______________ $16.3 million in taxes. Her case relates to a transfer of 4.5 million shares in the family company, Shin Corporation. Mrs Shinawatra told the court that the share transfer was ______________ and was not taxable. Prosecutors disagreed and said it was a business deal and therefore she should have ______________. Shinawatra told the court she was completely innocent of any wrongdoing. The high-profile case was televised nationwide. Mrs Shinawatra’s husband and children looked on gloomily ______________ was read out.

The judge’s decision ________________ consequences for Thaksin Shinawatra. He is accused of a series of offences including major fraud, corruption ______________ political power. Prosecutors will charge the former Prime Minister of redirecting funds ______________ $120-million loan to Burma into his own bank account, and of ______________ of government land into his wife’s name. Thais ______________ whether Mr Shinawatra should face trial. He is still seen as a hero by millions of farmers and poor people. A lecturer ______________  Bangkok university said the convictions of Mr and Mrs Shinawatra would be ______________ transparency, legitimacy and counter-corruption” in Thailand.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘criminal’ and ‘court’.

criminal

court

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • former
  • guilty
  • transfer
  • simply
  • completely
  • gloomily
  • serious
  • series
  • $120-million
  • split
  • millions
  • beginning

STUDENT TAXES SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about taxes in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

Q.2.

Q.3.

Q.4.

Q.5.

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘tax evasion’?

c)

Do you think taxes are a good thing?

d)

What do you think of super-rich people who try to avoid paying tax?

e)

Do you think three years is a fair sentence for Mrs Shinawatra?

f)

Would the spouse of a former leader in your country receive a similar sentence for evading tax?

g)

Do you think it’s possible that Mrs Shinawatra is innocent?

h)

Do you follow high profile court cases on the television or Internet?

i)

How would you feel if you watched a close family member being sentenced to three years in jail?

j)

When was the last time you looked gloomily at something?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What “serious consequences” could there be for Thaksin Shinawatra?

c)

Do you think courts should be a bit kinder to former prime ministers?

d)

What sentence should Mr Shinawatra receive if he is found guilty of all the offences in the article?

e)

Why do you think many Thais still see Mr Shinawatra as a hero when he is accused of stealing government money?

f)

Do you trust your country’s leaders?

g)

Do you think any of your country’s leaders have been / are heroes?

h)

How much transparency is there in your government’s dealings?

i)

What questions would you like to ask Thaksin Shinawatra?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Mrs Shinawatra?

LANGUAGE

The wife of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been sentenced to three years (1) ____ jail for tax evasion. Thailand’s criminal courts found Potjaman Shinawatra guilty of (2) ____ to pay $16.3 million in taxes. Her case relates to a transfer of 4.5 million (3) ____ in the family company, Shin Corporation. Mrs Shinawatra told the court that the share transfer was (4) ____ a gift and was not (5) ____. Prosecutors disagreed and said it was a business deal and therefore she should have paid tax on it. Shinawatra told the court she was completely innocent of any wrongdoing. The high-profile (6) ____ was televised nationwide. Mrs Shinawatra’s husband and children looked on gloomily as the verdict was read out.

The judge’s decision could have (7) ____ consequences for Thaksin Shinawatra. He is accused of a series (8) ____ offences including major fraud, corruption and abuse of political power. Prosecutors will (9) ____ the former Prime Minister of redirecting funds from an illegal $120-million loan to Burma into his own bank account, and of a shady transfer of government land into his wife’s name. Thais are (10) ____ over whether Mr Shinawatra should face trial. He is still seen as a hero by millions of farmers and poor people. A lecturer (11) ____ a top Bangkok university said the convictions of Mr and Mrs Shinawatra would be the “beginning of transparency, legitimacy and (12) ____ -corruption” in Thailand.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

in

(b)

on

(c)

at

(d)

for

2.

(a)

failed

(b)

failing

(c)

fail

(d)

fails

3.

(a)

share

(b)

shared

(c)

shares

(d)

sharing

4.

(a)

simplest

(b)

simpleness

(c)

simple

(d)

simply

5.

(a)

tax dodge

(b)

taxes

(c)

taxing

(d)

taxable

6.

(a)

box

(b)

bag

(c)

case

(d)

purse

7.

(a)

serious

(b)

seriously

(c)

seriousness

(d)

series

8.

(a)

at

(b)

of

(c)

for

(d)

with

9.

(a)

chance

(b)

change

(c)

charge

(d)

charm

10.

(a)

split

(b)

splits

(c)

split decision

(d)

split second

11.

(a)

over

(b)

to

(c)

by

(d)

from

12.

(a)

count

(b)

counter

(c)

counting

(d)

counts

WRITING: 

Write about tax for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about Mr and Mrs Shinawatra. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. HIGH PROFILE: Make a poster about some high-profile court cases in your country or around the world. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. TAX EVASION: Write a magazine article about a high-profile, filthy rich celebrity going to prison for tax evasion. Include imaginary interviews with the celebrity and a poor person from his/her country.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to Mrs Shinawatra. Ask her three questions about her court case. Give her for three pieces of advice on what she should do in prison. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. T

b. F

c. T

d. T

e. T

f. T

g. T

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

former

a.

ex-

2

jail

b.

prison

3.

gift

c.

present

4.

innocent

d.

in the clear

5.

verdict

e.

decision

6.

consequences

f.

results

7.

abuse

g.

misuse

8.

shady

h.

suspicious

9.

split

i.

divided

10.

transparency

j.

openness

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

sentenced to

a.

three years in jail

2

failing to pay

b.

$16.3 million in taxes

3.

the share transfer was

c.

simply a gift

4.

innocent of any

d.

wrongdoing

5.

Mrs Shinawatra’s husband and children

e.

looked on gloomily

6.

serious consequences

f.

for Thaksin Shinawatra

7.

accused

g.

of a series of offences

8.

a shady transfer

h.

of government land

9.

He is still seen

i.

as a hero by millions

10.

the beginning of

j.

transparency

GAP FILL:

Ex-Thai PM’s wife guilty of tax evasion

The wife of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been sentenced to three years in jail for tax evasion. Thailand’s criminal courts found Potjaman Shinawatra guilty of failing to pay $16.3 million in taxes. Her case relates to a transfer of 4.5 million shares in the family company, Shin Corporation. Mrs Shinawatra told the court that the share transfer was simply a gift and was not taxable. Prosecutors disagreed and said it was a business deal and therefore she should have paid tax on it. Shinawatra told the court she was completely innocent of any wrongdoing. The high-profile case was televised nationwide. Mrs Shinawatra’s husband and children looked on gloomily as the verdict was read out.

The judge’s decision could have serious consequences for Thaksin Shinawatra. He is accused of a series of offences including major fraud, corruption and abuse of political power. Prosecutors will charge the former Prime Minister of redirecting funds from an illegal $120-million loan to Burma into his own bank account, and of a shady transfer of government land into his wife’s name. Thais are split over whether Mr Shinawatra should face trial. He is still seen as a hero by millions of farmers and poor people. A lecturer from a top Bangkok university said the convictions of Mr and Mrs Shinawatra would be the “beginning of transparency, legitimacy and counter-corruption” in Thailand.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - a

2 - b

3 - c

4 - d

5 - d

6 - c

7 - a

8 - b

9 - c

10 - a

11 - d

12 - b

Help Support This Web Site

Sean Banville's Book

Thank You

Copyright © 2004-2008 by Sean Banville | Links | About | Privacy Policy