Kin fret about Thaksin's return
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Kin fret about Thaksin's return

Fugitive ex-PM still faces 3 legal cases

Thaksin: Wants to come home in July
Thaksin: Wants to come home in July

The Shinawatra family wants fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to postpone his return from exile to Thailand, according to a source.

Shortly before the May 14 general election, Thaksin, who fled the country to avoid facing jail time, tweeted that he wanted to return home before July 26, his 74th birthday, to care for his grandchildren.

His planned return was discussed on Wednesday at a family get-together attended by Khunying Potjaman Na Pombejra, Thaksin's ex-wife, Thaksin's daughters, Pintongta and her husband, and Paetongtarn.

The get-together at a Bangkok hotel took place after Ms Paetongtarn, one of the Pheu Thai Party's prime ministerial candidates, told the press at Pheu Thai Party headquarters that her father wants to return home next month and is ready to face justice.

According to the source, Thaksin cannot wait to return but the family is not sure about the timing and wants him to postpone his plan until the formation of the coalition government.

The source said the family also thinks it is too soon for Ms Paetongtarn to try and serve as prime minister and that it would be better for her to wait five years. At 37, the clan feels she is too young to handle the political situation and there are other suitable candidates such as Srettha Thavisin and Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat, the source said.

"She is young and doesn't have much experience. She entered politics because she wants to strengthen Pheu Thai. It's better for her to take it step by step. She also told her father she has yet to gain more experience, and he gets it," said the source.

Early on Wednesday, Ms Paetongtarn told the media that Thaksin plans to return to Thailand in July but he is likely to look at several factors before deciding on an exact date.

She said Thaksin has made no coordination through her, but he is believed to be liaising with certain government agencies.

Ms Paetongtarn said Thaksin would face justice regardless of what government is in power.

"The last time we talked, [his plan] was still July. His return is quite important. So, circumstances and timing will be taken into consideration," she said.

Thaksin was overthrown by a military coup on Sept 19, 2006, while he was overseas. He has since lived in self-imposed exile, except for a brief visit to Thailand in 2008.

He has spent 17 years saying he will come back. There are 18 records of him talking about his return.

The first time he was known to talk about coming home was on March 30, 2009 when he addressed red-shirt protesters in front of Government House via a video conference. "As soon as a first shot is fired at people, I'll lead you to Bangkok," he said.

Three years later he made a phone-in to greet red-shirt supporters at their gathering in Surin and told them: "If I go home, I'll have to come back cool. And I'll let you know later how to come back cool."

The rest of Thaksin's homecoming nods were recorded from 2021 to this May.

On May 1, he tweeted about the birth of his newest grandchild and said that all seven were born after he left the country.

On May 9, he tweeted that he wanted to return home before July 26. "I am determined to return home by July before my (74th) birthday to care for my grandchildren."

During his absence, the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment in four cases.

These range from abuse of power related to the ownership of state-owned land, malfeasance concerning the two- and three-digit lottery, abusing his position by authorising bank loans to buy equipment from a telecoms firm owned by his family, and using nominees to hold shares in that company, Shin Corp.

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