BANGKOK - Former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra returned to the kingdom Tuesday after 15 years in exile and was immediately jailed, just hours before his party’s candidate was elected prime minister.
The Supreme Court ordered the 74-year-old billionaire to serve eight years on old graft charges, though it is not clear how much time he will serve behind bars.
Thaksin, landed in a private jet at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport Tuesday morning, and was greeted by hundreds of noisy “Red Shirt” supporters waving banners and singing songs.
He emerged briefly from the terminal building to bow and offer a floral garland at a portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn as a mark of respect before waving to supporters. More Red Shirts lined the streets as the former Manchester City owner was taken to the Supreme Court.
There, he was ordered to serve eight years for three convictions passed in his absence -- one linked to his former Shin Corp company, another linked to a bank loan, and a lottery case.