Whereabouts of ex-Thai PM Yingluck unknown: Defence minister

Elias Hubbard
August 29, 2017

Yingluck, Thailand's first female prime minister, was ousted by a court ruling in 2014 shortly before the rest of her government was topped by a military coup.

The denial came after media reported that the former Thai prime minister fled her country through Cambodia and Singapore for Dubai earlier this week, after she failed to show up at a court trial.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is also head of the junta and led the 2014 coup against Yingluck's government, said he was concerned that Yingluck could rally the opposition from overseas.

"The issue has not reached the foreign ministry yet", he said when asked if the ministry would revoke her passports.

A senior member of Shinawatra's party said she flew to Dubai last week where her brother, another former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, lives in self-imposed exile to avoid going to jail for corruption.

Yingluck fled with two aides but left her only son, Supasek Amornchat, 15, behind in Thailand, the source said.

Deputy national police chief General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said police intelligence showed Yingluck was at her Bangkok home at least up until 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

The ruling junta, which kept her under tight surveillance in recent years, has denied allegations that it had helped Yingluck leave the country.

"I believe that former Prime Minister Thaksin prepared a plan for her, for example a private aircraft which regular people can not find", he said.

Gen Prawit, who is in charge of security, later admitted Ms Yingluck was no longer in Thailand.

A former commerce minister in her government was jailed for 42 years last Friday for falsifying government-to-government rice deals in connection with the same subsidy scheme.

Reuters was not able to contact Yingluck. He denied the government intentionally let Yingluck escape. Yingluck, who is usually active on social media, has not posted on her Facebook page since last Thursday, when she told supporters she would see them at the court.

"The public alleged that it was violating her personal rights and intimidating her so we withdrew the force", he said. But in a statement on Tuesday the party said it was resolved to forge ahead with its work.

Mr Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association to Protect the Thai Constitution political group, said he would file a complaint with the National Anti Corruption Commission over what he called government officials' failure to prevent Yingluck from fleeing. The court has set a new sentencing date for September 27.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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