Somchai Khunpleum

Somchai Khunpleum pictured in court in 2005. Pic: AP.

BANGKOK (AP) — Thai police have arrested a fugitive politician who disappeared eight years ago after being convicted of hiring a gunman to kill a rival.

Police Lt. Gen. Pongpat Chayaphan said Wednesday that 75-year-old Somchai Khunpleum was arrested in a car while traveling out of Bangkok to his hometown of Chonburi in eastern Thailand.

Somchai is the father of current Culture Minister Sonthaya Khunpleum.

The Supreme Court sentenced him to 25 years imprisonment in 2004 for conspiring in the murder of a political opponent. He also received a 5-year jail term for a corruption case.

Somchai was released on bail in 2005 and reportedly fled the country.

Police said a commando squad on Wednesday had followed him to a Bangkok hospital where he had a medical appointment under a fake name.

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