National police chief probes Thaksin’s hospital treatment amid special privilege claims

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post.

National Police Chief General Torsak Sukvimol requested a report from the Police General Hospital (PGH) regarding the medical treatment provided to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who is currently incarcerated. This request was prompted by a photograph circulating on social media that depicted Thaksin, donned in a patient’s gown and mask, presumably heading for CT and MRI scans.

The image, which went viral last week, spurred criticism over the potential special treatment 74 year old Thaksin might be receiving. Critics speculate that the dissemination of the photograph was intentional, designed to portray Thaksin as seriously ill and necessitating further medical treatment outside of prison confines.

Thaksin’s 90-day hospitalisation period outside of prison is set to end this Friday, and this photograph has emerged coinciding with this deadline.

Pol. Gen. Torsak, who recently ascended to the role of National Police Chief, confessed to having limited knowledge of Thaksin’s hospitalisation. The former PM is under the jurisdiction of the Corrections Department, which has enlisted the police’s help in ensuring Thaksin’s security.

After a 15-year self-imposed exile, Thaksin returned to Thailand on August 22. He was handed down an eight-year sentence across three separate cases. However, he was transferred from the Bangkok Remand Prison to the PGH the same night for medical reasons, where he has remained, reported Bangkok Post.

Following his request for a royal pardon, His Majesty the King reduced Thaksin’s eight-year sentence to a single year.

In the morning of Tuesday, Srisuwan Janya, a political activist, submitted a petition to the Justice Ministry. He demanded an investigation into Thaksin’s treatment at the PGH, challenging whether it infringes upon the Corrections Act.

Critics, despite the photograph being taken from a distance, allege that it was staged. They contend that Thaksin’s face was left unmasked, to confirm that it was indeed him, and to emphasise that he still requires medical care.

Srisuwan noted that while Thaksin suffers from a range of health issues – including heart and lung disease, high blood pressure, and a herniated lumbar disc – his stay at the PGH may still violate the Corrections Act.

The Corrections Act stipulates that only prisoners with critical or mental illnesses are permitted to receive special treatment outside prison. He further questioned why Thaksin hadn’t been given a short prisoner haircut, a requirement under Corrections Department regulations.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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