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Crowds welcome former PM Thaksin to Bangla Road

PHOTO: Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูลภูเก็ต Phuket Info Center

Former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra, looking fit and well following his miraculous recovery, has visited Phuket for the first time in 17 years, receiving a warm welcome from locals and tourists alike along the island’s ‘walking street’.

Nation Thailand reports that the former PM and “godfather” of the Pheu Thai Party was greeted enthusiastically by Phuket residents and foreigners as he visited Patong Beach on Tuesday evening, April 30.

Thaksin was accompanied by Suwat Liptapanlop, chief adviser to the Chart Pattana Party, Thaksin’s brother-in-law Somchai Wongsawat, himself a former PM, and Somchai’s wife and Thaksin’s younger sister, Yaowapa.

Thaksin later strolled along Bangla Road in Patong and was surrounded by bodyguards as he posed for selfies with Thais and foreign tourists.

Phuket is the second province to welcome the former PM after his release on parole. He was arrested on his return to Thailand and sentenced on 3 outstanding corruption charges. However, he fell ill on his first night in prison and was immediately transferred to hospital, where he remained until his release.

Officials say his visit to Phuket was to promote tourism, although sceptics say it was an attempt to revive flagging support for the Pheu Thai Party on the island.

Thaksin has also visited his home province of Chiang Mai and is planning to visit Korat, in the north-east of the country, at the end of the month.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand | Thai PBS World

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