National police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol on Tuesday called on the Police General Hospital (PGH) to submit a report on the treatment it is providing for jailed former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
The call came after a photo was circulated showing Thaksin on a gurney wearing a patient’s gown and face mask, heading for computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
The photo, which went viral on social media last week, sparked criticism regarding the special privileges and treatment Thaksin may be receiving.
It has been alleged that the picture was circulated on purpose. Critics said it may be intended to give the impression that Thaksin remains seriously ill and needs further hospital treatment outside of prison.
The photo came as Thaksin’s out-of-prison hospitalisation deadline of 90 days is due to expire on Friday.
On Tuesday, Pol Gen Torsak admitted he knew little about the hospitalisation issue since he was only recently appointed national police chief.
The former premier is under the supervision of the Corrections Department, which has asked the police to assist in providing security for the former premier.
Thaksin, 74, returned to Thailand on Aug 22 after 15 years of self-imposed exile and was sentenced to a total of eight years in three cases.
However, he was sent from Bangkok Remand Prison to the PGH that night for health reasons, and he has remained there since.
After seeking a royal pardon, his eight-year jail term was cut to one year by His Majesty the King.
On Tuesdaymorning, political activist Srisuwan Janya filed a petition with the Justice Ministry demanding an investigation into Thaksin’s treatment at the PGH to see if it violates the Corrections Act.
Even though the picture was taken from afar, critics claim it was staged, with Thaksin’s face unmasked to show it was him, to make it look as though the former premier still requires medical attention.
Mr Srisuwan noted that despite Thaksin’s series of illnesses — including heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, and a herniated lumbar disc — his hospitalisation at the PGH might violate the Corrections Act, which states that only prisoners who suffered critical or mental illness are allowed to receive special treatment outside of prison.
He also questioned why Thaksin was not given a short prisoner haircut, which is a requirement under Corrections Department regulations.