Nation Said Special Police Colonel Vatanyu Vitthayapalothai served as a loyal bodyguard for the Shinawatra clan for many years. He was also mentioned by the Thai media with the nickname “9 Network Police”.
Graduated from the Royal Thai Police Academy in 1996, Mr. Watanyu Vitthayapalothai’s career saw many ups and downs following the rise of the famous Shinawatra family.
Watanayu Witthayapalothai was employed as bodyguard under both former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister, former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
When the Thaksin brothers were ousted by coups in 2006 and 2014, Watanayu Vitthayapalothai’s name was almost forgotten, even as he was fired in 2019, before being reinstated in 2019. before being reinstated in 2021.
Watanayu (centre) accompanied by new Prime Minister Shretha (right) to meet his predecessor Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Thai Government House on 24 August. Photo: Reuters
Notably, after the 2006 coup, Mr Watanyu was transferred by the national police chief to a police station in Yala, Thailand’s southernmost province. A year later, he was returned to Bangkok after the People’s Power Party (the successor to Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai Party) won the 2007 general election.
In 2011, Ms. Yingluck became prime minister, and Mr. Watanyu was assigned to her bodyguard unit the very first day he entered the government building.
In 2014, after Ms. Yingluck was ousted, Mr. Watanyu disappeared from the public but is said to have maintained close ties to the Shinawatra family, even confiding in her to Ms. Yingluck in 2017. He was also accused of allegedly helping him leave the country.
Mr Watanyu denied the allegation but was nevertheless investigated and later fired in 2019. He appealed against the sentence and was reinstated in 2021.
Watanayu Witthayapalothai “re-emerged” earlier this week as a member of the security force waiting for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport on August 22, when the billionaire returned to Thailand after 15 years in exile .
Then on 24 August, Watanu was seen escorting new Prime Minister Shretha to a meeting with her predecessor, Prayut Chan-o-cha, at the Thai Government House.
This confirms that Mr. Watanyu has become the bodyguard of the Prime Minister, who is a member of the Phu Thai party.
Former Prime Minister Thaksin’s health worrying
Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s health has not improved since he was transferred to the Thai Police General Hospital on the morning of 23 August.
Hospital director Sophonrat Singhajaru said echocardiogram and lung test results showed Mr Thaksin’s condition was still “worrying”.
Bangkok Post Thaksin, 74, was admitted to hospital on his first night in prison due to chest pain, high blood pressure, low blood oxygen and trouble sleeping.
The health of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra “remains of concern”. Photo: Reuters