Skip to main content

Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Prime Minister who was ousted in the 2006 coup and has been living in self-imposed exile since 2008, has teased that he wants to return to Thailand to raise his grandchildren. 

He expressed his wish in a Twitter post following the announcement by his daughter and Pheu Thai prime ministerial candidate Paetongtarn “Ing” Shinawatra of the birth of her son on social media.

In the tweet, the fugitive ex-PM expresses his delight in the birth of his seventh grandchild, adding all of his seven grandchildren were born while he was living abroad. 

“I must request permission to go back and raise my grandchildren because I am about to turn 74 years old this coming July,” Thaksin tweeted.

He ended the post pleading to an unspecified third party: “See you soon. Please give me permission.”

The ousted ex-PM fled a corruption trial in 2008. The sentences handed down to him in absentia amount to twelve years in prison. 

Amidst the congratulations and warm support from his supporters, his opponents pointed out that he can return to Thailand at any time and serve jail time. 

Thaksin and his supporters, however, believe that he would not receive justice in the Thai justice system.

Some of Thaksin’s political opponents speculate that he is politicising the birth of his grandson and exploiting the opportunity for electioneering.

Even though he has been living abroad for more than 15 years, Thaksin still commands strong support from his supporters known as the Red Shirts -- the political base of the Pheu Thai Party. 

During an interview with the Kyodo News agency in March, Thaksin hinted that he might return and serve his sentence provided he is able to be with his family.

Prachatai English's Logo

Prachatai English is an independent, non-profit news outlet committed to covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite pressure from the authorities. Your support will ensure that we stay a professional media source and be able to meet the challenges and deliver in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: [email protected], please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”