Anyone who believes fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will return to Thailand on Aug 10 to face prison time is mistaken, according to political whistleblower Chuvit Kamolvisit.
#mce_temp_url#It would be wrong to think that police and royal guards will be at Don Mueang airport to receive the de facto leader of the Pheu Thai Party and take him to prison to start serving a combined jail term of 10 years, Mr Chuvit said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
The ousted premier would not have waited for 15 or 16 years if he actually wanted to return, said the former massage parlour tycoon.
Mr Chuvit caused an online stir on Friday night when he posted a message saying Thaksin’s plans had changed because a new situation had arisen. He did not elaborate.
The ex-premier’s daughter Paetongtarn “Ung Ing” Shinawatra, a Pheu Thai prime ministerial candidate, called the whistleblower’s remark “baseless”. Plans for her father’s Aug 10 return were still in place, she said.
Since being overthrown by a military coup on Sept 19, 2006, Thaksin has been living in self-imposed exile, except for a brief visit to the country in 2008. During his absence, he was sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison in four cases. The statute of limitations has expired in one case, leaving three convictions that carry terms totalling 10 years that he must serve.
Mr Chuvit said that Thaksin’s announced return on Aug 10 must involve a “special agenda” due to the intense political climate surrounding the voting for a new prime minister and the setting up of a new administration.
Exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra gestures while being interviewed by reporters in Hong Kong on March 25, 2019. (Photo: AFP)
Mr Chuvit said people can apply for a royal pardon on the first day they enter prison, but this applies to ordinary lawbreakers, not those at the “prime minister” level.
It would be crazy to think that the same rule applies to influential lawbreakers because they need special care from the Corrections Department due to safety concerns, and they cannot be mixed with other inmates, he said.
“To petition for a royal pardon for a personal crime, it is left to the royal prerogative,” Mr Chuvit wrote. “No one has ever received a royal pardon, except for Section 112 (lese-majeste) offences.”
Those who have committed crimes like corruption, robbery and fraud have never been granted a royal pardon, he said.
“If anyone told Thaksin that it’s possible, it’s a plan to deceive him.”
The former politician advised Thaksin to cancel his plan to return to the country indefinitely, or until a new government is formed.
Mr Chuvit said he was not angry at Ms Paetongtarn for disputing his claim.
“I’m not angry because I understand that she wishes her father to return home,” he wrote.
On Friday, Mr Chuvit posted a message on Facebook saying: “The game has taken a twist. Thaksin is retreating and has cancelled his plans to return to Thailand. The situation has changed.” He ended with a hashtag “deceived again and again”.
- Related : Whistleblower won't give up the fight