Ex-PM Thaksin Returns Home After Being Released on Parole

Convicted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was released on parole on Sunday and returned to his home on Charan Sanitwong 69 Road in the Bang Phlat district, six months after coming back to Thailand from a 15-year self-imposed exile.

Early on Sunday, 74-year-old Thaksin was discharged from the Police General Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for serious and life-threatening conditions for the past six months following his return on August 22, 2023.

Justice officials stated that he qualified for parole due to being over 70 years old, suffering from a serious illness, and having effectively served at least six months of his prison sentence while admitted to the Police General Hospital.

On Sunday at 6:09 am, Thaksin was seen leaving the Police General Hospital in a van, accompanied by his children.

He was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, neck and arm braces, shorts, and a face mask. The van arrived at his residence on Chan Song La at about 6:33 am.

Upon his return on August 22, 2023, Thaksin was taken to the Supreme Court and sentenced to eight years in prison for three separate charges.

Following his sentencing, he was initially taken to the Bangkok Remand Prison.

However, due to his severe health issues, including chest pain, hypertension, and low blood oxygen levels, he was transferred to the Police General Hospital for advanced medical care between the night of August 22 and the early morning of August 23, 2023.

In relation to his earlier eight-year jail sentence, Thaksin was convicted in one instance for a conflict of interest with the Export-Import Bank of Thailand (Exim Bank).

He directed the bank to issue a loan of 4 billion baht to the Myanmar government in 2004 at an interest rate below the cost, enabling it to purchase products from Shin Satellite Plc, a company owned by his family at the time.

Additionally, the Supreme Court found him guilty of illegally setting up a two- and three-digit lottery from 2003 to 2006 and abusing his power as the scheme lacked legislative support.

He was also convicted of malfeasance for holding shares through proxies in the state’s phone concessionaires, indicating a conflict of interest.

A royal pardon reduced his sentence from eight years to one year in September last year.

More than 15 years ago, while facing several legal battles, Thaksin received permission to leave Thailand on July 31, 2008, for academic lectures in Japan and to attend the Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremony.

He failed to return for a Supreme Court testimony in the Ratchadaphisek land purchase case on August 11, 2008.

On October 21, 2008, the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions handed down an in absentia two-year jail sentence to Thaksin, finding him guilty of breaching the National Counter-Corruption Act through the Ratchadaphisek land deal.

He faced allegations of misusing his prime ministerial powers to aid his then-wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra in acquiring 33 rai of land along Thiam Ruam Mit Road in the Ratchadaphisek district.

This acquisition was from the Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF) of the Bank of Thailand, secured at a below-market rate of 772 million baht in 2003. The statute of limitations on this case expired in 2018.