Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra finally returned to his home country after 15 years in self-exile and made a brief appearance in front of the private jet terminal at Don Mueang airport on Tuesday morning.
His private jet landed at Don Mueang airport about 9am on Tuesday as scheduled. Thousands of supporters and key political figures, mostly from the Pheu Thai Party, were waiting to welcome him outside the MJETs private jet terminal at the airport in Bangkok.
At 9.25am Thaksin, in a dark blue suit and pink necktie, walked out of the front of the private jet terminal with his three children - Panthongtae, Pintongta, and Paetongtarn. The fugitive former premier, who is widely believed to be Pheu Thai's de facto leader, paid respect to a portrait of Their Majesties the King and Queen placed next to the entrance ahead of his arrival.
Then he put his hands together in a wai and afterwards waved to supporters, with a calm smile and looking comfortable.
He walked to greet key political figures, mostly from Pheu Thai, who were waiting with smiles near the entrance of the terminal.
Thaksin and his children were out front of the terminal for three minutes before reentering the building.
It was reported earlier that he would be taken to the Supreme Court near the Grand Palace to undergo procedures concerning his punishment.
Since being overthrown by a military coup on Sept 19, 2006, Thaksin had lived in self-imposed exile, except for a brief visit to the country in 2008. During his absence, the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions sentenced him to a total of 12 years in prison in four cases.
In the first case, Thaksin was found guilty of abuse of authority in his then-wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra's purchase of state-owned land in Ratchadaphisek at a price below the market value, resulting in a two-year prison sentence. The 10-year statute of limitations on the court ruling expired in October 2018.
The second case led to a two-year prison sentence for the former prime minister, as he was found guilty of malfeasance in connection with the two- and three-digit lottery case.
In the third case, Thaksin received a three-year prison sentence for abusing his position by authorising 4 billion baht in loans to Myanmar through the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of Thailand. The funds were used to purchase equipment from a telecoms firm owned by his family.
The fourth case resulted in a five-year prison sentence for him, as the court found him guilty of using nominees to hold shares in Shin Corp, a telecommunications company, which is prohibited for any political office holder.
The statutes of limitation for the court decisions on the second, third and fourth cases have not expired.