February 27, 2008 / 5:42 AM / 12 years ago

Thaksin to return to Thailand Thursday

Ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra attends a news conference in Hong Kong December 25, 2007. Thaksin will return to Thailand from exile on Thursday to face a corruption charge, his personal secretary said. REUTERS/Victor Fraile

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will return to Thailand from exile on Thursday to face a corruption charge, his personal secretary said.

He would arrive in Bangkok on a flight from Hong Kong due at 9:40 a.m (0240 GMT), 18 months after he was ousted in a bloodless 2006 coup, she said by telephone from Hong Kong on Wednesday.

Thaksin would surrender himself to police at the airport, then go to the Supreme Court to seek bail on the corruption charge, his bodyguards told Thai reporters.

Thaksin faces a charge relating to his wife’s purchase of a prime piece of Bangkok real estate while in office. He denies any wrongdoing.

An advertisement on www.hi-thaksin.org urged his supporters to welcome “Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra: The One We Love & Miss For Years” at Bangkok airport on Thursday.

His Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party was disbanded for electoral fraud after the coup and 111 senior party officials, Thaksin included, banned from politics for five years.

Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Michael Battye

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