Thaksin makes merit in Chiang Mai, says health ‘gradually improving’

The former prime minister arrived by a private jet in the northern city late on Thursday morning and after receiving a warm welcome from supporters, visited several locations including local development projects.

The Nation

The Nation



A senior local monk, Phra Thep Mangkalachan, offered Thaksin a blessing, saying that he wished the ex-premier to live in the country for the rest of his life. PHOTO: THE NATION

March 15, 2024

BANGKOK – He is visiting his native province of Chiang Mai from Thursday to Saturday and will reportedly make merit to his parents and other deceased family members at a local Buddhist temple.

Thaksin arrived by a private jet in the northern city late on Thursday morning, accompanied by his nurse, son-in-law, and his youngest daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra, who leads the ruling Pheu Thai Party.

After receiving a warm welcome from supporters, family visited several locations as part of his itinerary, including local development projects.

He visited a watershed management unit in Chiang Mai’s Mae Rim district, where he was greeted by Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow, the Royal Irrigation Department director-general, and the provincial governor. After being briefed about the project, Thaksin suggested that he wanted to see more trees in the project area and better distribution of water to local residents.

Thaksin was greeted by a group of villagers who told him that they had come from a village about 10 kilometres away.

As some villagers attempted to embrace Thaksin and hold his hands, his daughter Paetongtarn asked them not to pull his arms as they still hurt. The villagers wished him good health.

Thaksin returned to Thailand on August 22 after spending 15 years in self-imposed exile overseas. Less than 24 hours after landing on Thai soil, he was taken from Bangkok Remand Prison to the Police General Hospital for treatment of unidentified health issues. He remained in hospital until his release on parole on February 18.

During his exile, Thaksin was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison for corruption stemming from his 2001-2006 tenure as prime minister, which was cut short by a military coup.

However, he received a royal pardon soon after his return to Thailand last year, and his sentence was reduced to one year. The 74-year-old was released on parole after 180 days in detention at Police General Hospital because he was deemed to have met all the criteria, namely age and illness and period of detention.

In Chiang Mai on Thursday, Thaksin called on senior local monk Phra Thep Mangkalachan, who is Chiang Mai’s monastic chief, at Tha Ton Temple in Mae Ai district. Thaksin donated 10,000 baht to the temple and the monk gave him some amulets.

The senior monk offered Thaksin a blessing, saying that he wished the ex-premier to live in this country for the rest of his life.

Thaksin and his family members later released more than 30,000 fish to make merit.

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