The Royal Thai Police chief gave a briefing to reporters on Monday as his force locked in details for Tuesday’s operation to receive ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on arrival and his movements in Bangkok before he is committed to Bangkok Remand Prison after his appearance before the Supreme Court.

The Royal Thai Police has assured the public that its overarching priority in dealing with the historic return of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be the safety of the man who has dominated Thai politics for over two decades while police also have orders to ensure the safety of supporters who come out to cheer Mr Thaksin on his return and appearance before the Supreme Court in the capital before he is committed to Bangkok Remand Prison. The Supreme Court has scheduled a press conference after Mr Thaksin appears before it to explain the basis of any decision made on Tuesday regarding his prison sentences and terms of incarceration.

General Damrongsak Kittiprapas briefs reporters on Monday ahead of a historic day for Thailand as former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is expected to arrive back at Don Mueang Airport at 9.30 am on a private jet flying from Singapore. He will later be taken to the Supreme Court before being incarcerated at Bangkok Remand Prison.

The Thai police chief, General Damrongsak Kittiprapas, on Monday, confirmed that his forces were ready to deal with the imminent return to Thailand of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra after over 15 years in exile.

The former premier is understood to be flying in with his son Panthongtae ‘Oak’ Shinawatra and other close family members on a private jet from Singapore where he has been since the weekend.

His daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra will be at the airport with other family members to meet the exiled former government leader.

The controversial former prime minister who has been a dominating figure in Thai politics for over two decades, is expected to fly into Thailand on a private jet and to be received at a private terminal at Don Mueang Airport by Immigration Bureau Police accompanied by officers of Bangkok Metropolitan Police Division Two on Tuesday morning at 9.30 am.

Thaksin to be taken from Don Mueang to Metropolitan Police Bureau headquarters before going to the Supreme Court in Sanam Luang and to prison

On Monday, General Damrongsak outlined a preliminary schedule which would see the former Premier be taken to the headquarters of Metropolitan Police Division 2 before being taken to the Supreme Court in Bangkok where he will come before the Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions.

Following a hearing of the court dealing with arrest warrants for the former Prime Minister, who is 74 years old, it is expected he will then be handed over to the Department of Corrections and taken to Bangkok Remand Prison.

Supporters of the former PM from across Thailand have mobilised as he surrenders to authorities to spend his last days with his family and grandchildren.

On Monday, General Damrongsak emphasised that police were preparing for all eventualities with their priority being the safety of the former prime minister, with the police chief underlining the potential danger to his person, given his unique status in Thai politics and modern history.

Police will try to facilitate Thaksin’s supporters as they cheer him on during what will be a challenging moment for the 74-year-old former PM

General Damrongsak Kittiprapas also made it clear that efforts would be made by the Royal Thai Police to accommodate members of the public who are believed to be travelling to the airport to see Mr Thaksin’s arrival back in Thailand and to cheer him on as his taken to court and subsequently to prison. 

The National Police Commissioner said that Mr Thaksin would be treated as a VIP arrival in the Kingdom.

He made it clear, however, that because he was an important political figure, this came with inherent dangers.

On Monday afternoon, police are understood to have received details of the aircraft to be used by Mr Thaksin on his return to Thailand as well as details of the passengers aboard the flight.

Reporters asked the police chief if this may include Mr Thaksin’s sister and former PM from 2011 to 2014, Yingluck Shinawatra, but he declined to answer, saying it was important to deal with the current situation step by step and that police would adjust their plans as required. 

Ms Yingluck is also living in exile and is the subject of arrest warrants.

No threat of violence reported at this point

General Damrongsak said that police intelligence, at this point, suggests that there is no threat of violence in connection with the return of the former premier but insisted that his force would, nonetheless, be on high alert.

A spokesman for the Office of the Judiciary, Sorawis Limparangsi, told reporters that the court expected Mr Thaksin’s arrival sometime on Tuesday morning at approximately 10.30 am.

Mr Thaksin and his family would be accommodated in a courtroom at the building but the press would be prohibited from the precincts and made to wait outside where a perimeter would be erected to satisfy security requirements.

Mr Sorawis said that the Supreme Court, after handing down its decisions on Mr Thaksin’s detention period and transfer to prison, would issue a press release after the hearing, explaining the basis of the judgement.

The court’s senior officials held a meeting on Monday to discuss Tuesday’s proceedings. 

Thaksin is hoping that his jail term may be cut by the Supreme Court from ten to five years under the Criminal Procedure Code when he appears before it

Mr Thaksin faces jail terms over three convictions for fraud, abuse of power and corruption.

Having left Thailand in July 2008 to attend the Beijing Olympics on bail, he failed to return in August 2008 and was subsequently convicted with his wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, in a case linked with the purchase of state land in the Ratchadaphisek area of Bangkok.

The statute of limitations on this case has expired and it will not be considered before the court on Tuesday. 

Based on the three convictions that are still applicable, Mr Thaksin faces ten years imprisonment, although reports suggest that this may be reduced to five years under the Thai Criminal Procedures Code and various regulations within the justice system.

Police chief says his force will be responsible for the former Prime Minister until he is handed into the custody of Bangkok Remand Prison on Tuesday

The police chief, General Damrongsak, told reporters on Monday that police and senior officials with various agencies had rehearsed the arrival of Mr Thaksin throughout Monday after weeks of speculation that the return of the former prime minister was imminent. 

He emphasised that the public was welcome to observe proceedings on Tuesday and the role of the police would be to ensure the safety of bystanders and Mr Thaksin himself.

‘Procedures for the officials dealing with the former Prime Minister at Don Mueang Airport, particularly for immigration officers who will be present when Mr Thaksin surrenders himself, have been finalised. He will be taken to Sanam Luang to appear before the Supreme Court and this operation will be handled by Chana Songkhram Police Station. The police will be particularly concerned with safety along the route on Tuesday and escorting the former Prime Minister until he is handed over to the prison department at which stage the responsibility of the Royal Thai Police will end.’

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