Thaksin returns to Thailand after 17 months of exile

Deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned Thursday from 17 months in exile to face corruption charges, saying he hopes to restore his reputation following his ouster in a coup. Police immediately took him into custody. Thai authorities took the 58-year-old billionaire politician into custody after his arrival at Suvarnabhumi International Airport on a Thai Airways flight from Hong Kong, said police Maj. Gen. Thaweesak Toochinda, the head of airport immigration police. Two arrest warrants were issued for Thaksin after the September 2006 coup that ousted him. He faces corruption charges in two separate cases that date to his time in office from 2001-2006 and could receive a maximum of 15 years in prison. "I have to restore my reputation which has been tarnished by the coup," he told reporters on the plane shortly before landing.