Thaksin Shinawatra has begun serving his eight-year prison sentence after appearing at the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning following his return to the country after 15 years abroad.
The Corrections Department confirmed that the 74-year-old former prime minister had arrived at Bangkok Remand Prison and been admitted to its hospital unit in light of his old age and underlying illnesses.
The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions earlier ordered Thaksin jailed for eight years — three years concurrently in the first two cases, and five years in the third case.
Thaksin was brought from Don Mueang airport to the Supreme Court shortly after 10am. Many Red Shirt supporters lined the streets near Sanam Luang as he was taken into the court building.
Inside, immigration police told the court that Thaksin was a convict in three finalised cases and had been wanted on arrest warrants.
In one case, Thaksin had been sentenced in absentia to three years in prison for having conflict of interest in the Export-Import Bank of Thailand (Exim) loan case. The case involved the lending of 4 billion baht to the government of Myanmar in 2004. The court said Thaksin had ordered the state-run bank to lend 4 billion baht at a below-cost interest rate to Myanmar so that it could buy products from Shin Satellite Plc, a company owned by his family.
In another case, the court sentenced him to two years in jail for illegally launching a two- and three-digit lottery between 2003 and 2006. He was found guilty of breaching the Criminal Code by abusing his power as the scheme was not supported by any legislation.
The court said on Tuesday that the jail terms in these two cases would start simultaneously in the next three years.
In the other case, the court earlier sentenced Thaksin to five years in jail for malfeasance in connection with the handling of telephone concessionaires and conflict of interest from 2001 and 2006 during his two terms as prime minister.
He was charged with violating the Organic Act on Counter Corruption by holding shares in Shin Corp through proxies. The act prohibits a government official from holding shares in a contractor of the state. Shin Corp through its subsidiaries obtained mobile phone concessions from two state telecom agencies.