Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha stated that the self-imposed exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s intention to return to Thailand was not a topic of discussion during Monday’s meeting with the police chief.
In response to press queries about his meeting with the National Police Chief, Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, and if Thaksin’s return plans were mentioned, Gen Prayut said:
“We never talked about Thaksin, and should I have to get involved with him?” he remarked.
When questioned about what measures the police need to implement if Thaksin were to return, Gen Prayut expressed that this issue is unrelated to the government but is a matter of legal proceedings.
“If he returns, he will have to face legal procedures, that’s all. I have nothing to do with it,” he articulated.
Thaksin, ahead of the elections on May 14, voiced his strong intention to return to Thailand before his 74th birthday on July 26 via a tweet.
He also expressed his desire to come home to look after his grandchildren and stated his readiness to face legal consequences.
Thaksin was deposed through a military coup on September 19, 2006, during his overseas stay. Since then, he has lived in self-imposed exile, barring a brief visit to Thailand in 2008.
There are documented 18 instances of him discussing his possible return during this period.
The first instance was on March 30, 2009, where he spoke to red-shirt protesters outside the Government House via a video link.
“As soon as the first shot is fired at people, I’ll lead you to Bangkok,” he declared.
Three years following this, he communicated via phone to greet red-shirt supporters at a gathering in Surin, informing them: “If I go home, I’ll have to come back cool. And I’ll let you know later how to come back cool.”
Subsequent acknowledgements of Thaksin’s possible return were documented from 2021 through this May.
Thaksin was found guilty in absentia by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions and was sentenced to a 12-year prison term over four corruption cases. His immediate arrest is imminent once he enters Thai jurisdiction.