June 14, 2023
BANGKOK – Outgoing Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday that he had not given any special instructions to police in case fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra returns to the kingdom next month.
Prayut was speaking to reporters after the weekly Cabinet meeting. Government House reporters asked Prayut if he had given any special orders to Royal Thai Police Commissioner-General Pol General Damrongsak Kittiprapas, who came to see the PM at Government House on Tuesday.
Thaksin has repeatedly said he would return to Thailand next month so that he would have a chance to stay with his grandchildren.
But according to unconfirmed reports, Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, who remains Thaksin’s wife although the two have legally divorced, disagrees with Thaksin’s plan to return next month. Sources said Potjaman wanted Thaksin to wait further for the right timing to return.
Thaksin’s repeated public comments about his plan to return before his birthday next month appeared to follow the announcement of the new directive of the Corrections Department for certain kinds of detainees to be detained outside prisons.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam explained that the directive was not for Thaksin but for certain detainees under the relegation measures in line with criminology principles.
Prayut said on Tuesday that he had no authority to give any order to police about Thaksin’s return. Prayut said Thaksin could return to the country whenever he wanted as long as he complied with the law and served the sentence given to him.
Thaksin has been living in self-imposed exile in Dubai since 2008. He has been sentenced in absentia to a total of 12 years in jail in four corruption cases.
Prayut walked away from the podium when a reporter asked him if it was time to end conflicts between the Shinawatras and their opponents. “There is no polarised conflict. You [reporters] created the conflicts yourselves,” he said, while walking away.