(CTN NEWS) – Following his imprisonment upon his return from a 15-year exile, former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was moved from incarceration to a police hospital on Wednesday, as confirmed by officials.
Aged 74 and having served as Thailand’s premier on two occasions prior to his ousting in a 2006 coup, Thaksin was transferred from prison quarantine to a police hospital shortly after midnight due to severe health complications.
Thaksin’s return to the country on Tuesday aligned with the Pheu Thai party’s resurgence to authority through a power-sharing agreement with pro-military factions, giving rise to widespread speculations of a potential deal aimed at reducing his prison sentence.
A statement issued by Sitthi Sutivong, a spokesperson for the prison department, indicated that late on Wednesday night, medical personnel in the prison reported Thaksin’s struggle with insomnia, high blood pressure, and low blood oxygen levels.
“His medical condition encompasses several ailments, particularly cardiac issues, and the prison’s medical facility lacks the necessary equipment,” Sitthi conveyed.
“The doctor advised that, to avert life-threatening risks, he should be transferred to the Police hospital.”
Return of Former Prime Minister Thaksin: Facing Legal Consequences and Political Realities
Upon arriving in Bangkok, the billionaire former Prime Minister was instructed to serve the jail terms he had evaded during his time away.
Thaksin had persistently contended that the charges against him were politically motivated, yet he was willing to confront the legal process in order to come back home and spend time with his grandchildren during his later years, according to a report by AFP.
Adored by numerous rural Thais for his populist policies in the early 2000s, Thaksin is deeply loathed by the royalist and pro-military establishment in the country.
This establishment has dedicated much of the last two decades to preventing him and his associates from attaining positions of power.
Just yesterday, Srettha Thavisin from the Pheu Thai party was sanctioned as the prime minister, marking the party’s first leader to hold the position since Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck, was deposed in a coup back in 2014.
Srettha, a real estate magnate, leads a contentious coalition that encompasses parties linked to the military generals who orchestrated the coups that removed both Thaksin and Yingluck from office.
This novel coalition excludes the emerging progressive Move Forward Party (MFP), which rode on the wave of youthful dissatisfaction and urban discontent over nearly a decade of military-backed governance, ultimately achieving an astonishing triumph in the May elections.
However, the MFP’s drive for reform, including amendments to laws concerning defamation of the royal institution and efforts to address corporate monopolies, unsettled the influential elites of the kingdom.
Consequently, the party’s leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, was prevented from assuming the role of prime minister.
Mixed Reactions on Social Media as Thaksin Faces Initial Prison Challenges
Reports about Thaksin’s initial challenges during his inaugural night in prison elicited a varied spectrum of responses across social media, encompassing both apprehension and derision.
Several social media posts took a lighthearted approach to his distinct accommodations, as evidenced by the trending hashtag #VVIP on X, the platform previously known as Twitter.
Some users speculated that he might be occupying a ward on an elevated floor of the hospital, affording him a view of an exclusive sports club and golf course.
In response, the hospital affirmed that no preferential treatment was being accorded and reiterated that prisoners were routinely admitted.
Certain television broadcasts repeatedly showcased videos from last year, depicting Thaksin engaging in exercises on the grounds of his Dubai mansion. These videos captured his vigorous strikes on a punching bag, occasionally punctuated by spirited high kicks.
While acknowledging no qualms about Thaksin receiving medical attention, Amornrat Chokpamitkul, a member of the Move Forward Party, emphasized the need for equal treatment for the numerous inmates contending with high blood pressure.
This viewpoint, shared on X, was reposted a remarkable 4,000 times.
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