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Thaksin set to arrive in Thailand today after 17 months in exile

Thaksin set to arrive in Thailand today after 17 months in exile

Deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be greeted at the airport by senior officials in Thailand's new government and other "people who love him" when he returns today from 17 months in exile, officials said.
Thaksin, who was lived abroad since a September 2006 coup, has so far kept quiet about his return date to Thailand.
However, his Web site and his lawyer have said he will fly into Bangkok today, and government officials say they plan to welcome him with open arms.
"I myself will be at the airport to greet him," Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobambrung, a longtime Thaksin ally, told reporters.
"I will be there as the old friend ... who promised voters that if they chose the People's Power Party we would bring Thaksin back with full honors," he said.
The People's Power Party, which is packed with Thaksin allies, won December 23 general elections and now leads a six-party coalition government. The polls were the first since military leaders ousted Thaksin in a September 2006 coup, accusing him of corruption and abuse of power.
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, who heads PPP, won widespread support by campaigning as Thaksin's proxy and pledging to clear his name.
History of corruption
Thaksin and his wife Pojaman face corruption and conflict of interest charges in connection with her purchase of prime Bangkok real estate from a state agency in 2003, while he was prime minister. Pojaman returned to Thailand in January and was released on bail pending trial.
Thaksin also faces separate charges of concealing assets. Rakkiat Wattapong, the Supreme Court secretary general, said Monday that Thaksin would be detained when he arrives in Thailand.
The chief of Thaksin's legal defense team, Pichit Chuenban, said Thaksin will surrender to police when he arrives and will seek his release on bail.
Critics fear the billionaire-politician's homecoming could plunge the country back into a political crisis.
An anti-Thaksin group has said it will mobilize protesters if the government invertenes in the legal process against him.
Thaksin supporters have said they will arrange transportation for hundreds of people to welcome him at the airport, The Bangkok Post reported.


Updated : 2021-06-13 03:40 GMT+08:00