6 June 2024

A group of people gathered at the Ministry of Justice today (Thursday), demanding an investigation into the conduct of the director-general of Corrections Department for alleged double standards in the treatment of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, claiming that he is being treated as a “VIP guest.”

After his arrival in Thailand from his self-imposed exile on August 22, Thaksin was taken to Bangkok Remand Prison, to serve his 8-years in prison. Due to claimed health issues, he was placed in the prison’s hospital. In the middle of that night, he was transferred to the Police General Hospital by the Corrections Department, when he developed chest tightness and could not sleep.

In a statement, the department said its hospital is not adequately equipped to cope with Thaksin’s ailments, such as heart disease, and decided to admit him to the Police General Hospital.

In a letter addressed to the Justice Permanent Secretary, the group, calling itself the “Network of Students and People for Thailand’s Reform”, accuse Corrections Director-General Aryut Sinthoppan of not following department regulations by granting special treatment Thaksin.

The group said they doubt that Thaksin is actually in poor enough health to justify admission to the Police General Hospital, claiming that, according to several online media, he regularly exercises, by swimming, and was in good health before his return to Thailand.

They claim that the reason cited by the Corrections Department was just an excuse for Thaksin to be transferred to the Police General Hospital and, possibly, then to a private hospital.

The group suggested that medical specialists from the Royal College of Physicians of Thailand should conduct a thorough examination of Thaksin, to determine whether he needs be treated in a hospital outside the prison.

The group also questioned why Thaksin is allowed to wear his hair long, unlike other inmates, adding that, if inmates over 70 are allowed to wear long hair, this practice should be applied to all elderly inmates.