Yingluck in Dubai, party sources say

Yingluck in Dubai, party sources say

A supporter holds images of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother Thaksin on Aug 1, the day when Ms Yingluck made the closing statement in her trial. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A supporter holds images of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother Thaksin on Aug 1, the day when Ms Yingluck made the closing statement in her trial. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has fled to Dubai, senior Pheu Thai Party members said on Saturday, a day after she failed to show up for a negligence ruling in which she faced up to 10 years in prison.

Sources in the party said Ms Yingluck left the country last week and flew via Singapore to Dubai where her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a 2008 jail sentence for corruption, has a home.

"We heard that she went to Cambodia and then Singapore from where she flew to Dubai. She has arrived safely and is there now," said a senior party member who declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Deputy national police chief General Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul said police had no record of Ms Yingluck leaving the country and were following developments closely.

However, other sources have told the Bangkok Post that senior officials were complicit in the escape, as they feared unrest had Ms Yingluck stayed and had the court delivered a guilty ruling and a jail term.

A Reuters reporter was stopped by security at the exclusive Emirates Hills community in Dubai, where Thaksin has a home.

A spokesperson for Thaksin in Dubai did not respond to attempts by Reuters to contact him.

After she failed to appear on Friday, the Supreme Court issued a warrant for Ms Yingluck's arrest and forfeited her 30-million-baht bail. Immigration police said on Friday that they would arrest Ms Yingluck on the spot if she is found.

Norawit Lalaeng, Ms Yingluck’s lawyer in the rice-pledging case, said on Saturday that he had absolutely no advance knowledge of his client's plans to flee. 

The legal team went to the former premier's Bangkok residence to brief her on what the court had decided on Friday, but she was not in there and no one knew where she had gone, he said.

He said his legal team would cooperate in a search of Ms Yingluck’s house if asked by authorities.


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