Former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra's 8-year jail sentence commuted to 1 year by Thai king

Thaksin was imprisoned on the same day as his return to Thailand, but was eventually taken to a police hospital where has been ever since.

Tan Min-Wei | September 02, 2023, 07:14 PM


On Sep 1, former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had his jail term cut from eight years to one after Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn commuted his sentence.

Done good, and is loyal to the monarchy

According to the Financial Times (FT), a royal gazette released on Sep 1  has reduced Thaksin's eight year sentence to just one.

Thaksin has lived in self-imposed exile since 2008, but returned on Aug 22, after several months of speculation on if, then when, he would return.

He was arrested on the same day, taken to prison, but by the evening was taken to a police hospital after complaints of high blood pressure and chest pains, where he has remained ever since.

On Aug 31, Thaksin officially submitted his request for a royal pardon from the King of Thailand.

A day later, a royal gazette announced that Thaksin's sentence would be commuted to just one year, saying that as Prime Minister Thaksin:

"has done good for the country and people, and is loyal to monarchy.

He respected the process, admitted his guilt, respected, (and) accepted court verdicts."

The gazette also mentioned Thaksin's ill health, and his requirement for medical care.

Thaksin's daughter, Paetongtarn "Ing" Shinawatra, posted on Facebook after her father's commutation, saying that her family were infinitely grateful to the King, and that Thaksin would use his "knowledge, skills, and experiences", to contribute to Thailand and serve the monarchy.

Indication of a deal

The news appears to come as little surprise to commentators, with the FT speaking to Paul Chambers, a Thai politics expect at Naresuan University, who said that there was "and indication of a deal" between the Thai establishment and Thaksin.

Adding fuel to these rumors was the fact that the day of Thaksin's return was the same day that Srettha Thavisin, said to be a Thaksin ally, was successfully elected as Thailand's new Prime Minister.

Srettha attained a majority in a combined session of both houses of Thailand's parliament, including the military appointed senate.

The senate was appointed by the military government that ousted Thaksin's sister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014.

One of the leaders in Srettha's party Pheu Thai, is Paetongtarn Shinawatra, and the party is seen as the successor to Thaksin's now defunct Thai Rak Thai party, which he led until he was ousted by a military coup in 2006, and the party was banned.

Pheu Thai was initially part of a eight party coalition led by the progressive Move Forward Party, who has unexpectedly won the most number of seats in the GE, but was unable to get more than a handful of the senators they needed to win control of the government.

It would later split with MFP, to form its own coalition, sparking protest from MFP supporters.


Thaksin's had initially seen him sentenced to eight years imprisonment; two concurrent three year terms and a single five year term, for conflict of interest and abuse of authority while Prime Minister, according to the Bangkok Post.

Srettha, for his part, as denied any part in filing the petition for pardon, with both he and Thaksin saying it was a personal affair that had nothing to do with politics.

The proximity of timing between Srettha's victory, Thakin's return, sentencing, and pardon, leaves many doubtful.

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Top image via Ing Shinawatra/Facebook