PUBLISHED : 19 Aug 2023 at 07:03
The Royal Thai Police and relevant agencies reportedly met on Friday to make preparations for the much-anticipated return of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who might arrive early next week.
A source said assistant police chief Pol Lt Gen Prachuap Wongsuk called the meeting with a number of agencies including the Corrections Department, the Immigration Bureau and the Metropolitan Police Bureau to prepare for Thaksin’s homecoming.
The fugitive former prime minister is said to be arriving early next week, possibly on Monday or Tuesday. It is believed Thaksin will arrive via private plane and land at Don Mueang Airport.
The planned return coincides with the planned prime ministerial vote on Aug 22. Pheu Thai which is forming a coalition, plans to nominate former real estate tycoon Srettha Thavisin for the top political job.
Jatuporn Prompan, former chair of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and a staunch critic of Thaksin, on Friday shrugged off the latest speculation about Thaksin’s return after 17 years in self-imposed exile.
“I’d love to see him come back so that we can move on to address national issues. But given the political situation, his timing doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Anusorn Iamsa-ard, a Pheu Thai list-MP, said Thaksin’s return has nothing to do with the government coalition formation and that the former prime minister can return whenever he feels comfortable.
Thaksin fled Thailand in 2008, shortly before the Supreme Court convicted him for helping his then-wife, Khunying Potjaman Na Pombejra, buy prime land in the Ratchadaphisek area at a discount while he was prime minister.
Thaksin posted on X (formerly Twitter) that he had originally planned to return to Thailand by Aug 10, but that plans for a medical checkup meant a delay of two weeks.
His daughter, Paetongtarn, who is a prime ministerial candidate for the Pheu Thai Party, flew to Dubai early this week to take him to see an ophthalmologist. Thaksin faces jail sentences of 10 years in three cases in which he was convicted in absentia by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.