Thai ex-PM Thaksin had surgery last week, daughter says

BANGKOK: Jailed former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra underwent surgery last week, his daughter said Tuesday (Sep 19), as his family mulls seeking his release on parole.

The 74-year-old billionaire was ousted by a military coup in 2006 and spent more than 15 years in self-imposed exile, returning to the kingdom last month and being jailed on arrival.

He was transferred within hours to a private room at a police hospital because of his poor health, and earlier this month the king cut his eight-year sentence to one year.

“My dad had surgery last week and I don’t know how long it will take him to recover,” his daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra told reporters, without giving details of the operation.

Speculation has raged in Thailand of a backroom deal to grant Thaksin leniency on his sentence for graft and abuse of power convictions.

This has been fuelled by the the fact he returned to Thailand the same day his Pheu Thai party came to power in coalition with pro-military parties.

Paetongtarn, a leading figure in Pheu Thai, said the family was “studying” how to apply for parole because of her father’s poor health.

“We are studying the law about what can be done for him to stay at home. But we haven’t applied for it yet,” she said.

According to the Department of Corrections, an elderly inmate with health problems can apply for parole after spending a minimum of six months in prison.

This would make Thaksin eligible for parole in February.

Asked about his condition, Paetongtarn said: “There are some good and bad days”.

When he was moved to the police hospital, prison officials said Thaksin was suffering chest pains, high blood pressure and low blood oxygen.

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