Thailand’s ex-PM Yingluck said to have fled to Dubai

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Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is said to have fled Thailand before a scheduled court verdict on August 25 that could have led to her imprisonment. The statement has been made by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and is supported by a report in Khaosod newspaper which wrote that Yingluck fled to Dubai via Cambodia and Singapore to join her fugitive brother there.

According to Khaosod, Yingluck was last seen paying homage at a temple in Bangkok on August 23 and has then been flying to Phnom Penh presumably in a private jet. From there, she took a flight to Singapore where she met her brother Thaksin Shinawatra and both then flew to Dubai where Thaksin is a resident and has a big villa. Reportedly, Yingluck has taken her 15-year-old son with her.

She could have received a tip-off that the verdict would not be in her favour, observers noted.

A Thai court issued an arrest warrant for Yingluck after she failed to show up on August 25 to hear a verdict in a negligence case. The verdict threatened to reopen fissures in Thai society that have triggered violent clashes over the past decade between urban royalists and rural backers.

Yingluck was impeached in 2015 and banned from politics for five years for alleged corruption in her party’s rice-purchasing programme. She was also hit with a 35-billion-baht ($1.1 billion) fine over the allegations of negligence in overseeing the policy, which purchased grain at above-market rates to help farmers.

Her brother Thaksin fled abroad to avoid jail time on corruption charges brought after his own government’s ouster in a 2006 coup.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok court sentenced Yingluck’s former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom to 42 years in jail on August 25 after finding him guilty of falsifying government-to-government rice deals between Thailand and China.

Boonsong’s former deputy Poom Sarapol was sentenced to 36 years in the case. Manas Soiploy, former chief of the Foreign Trade Department, was sentenced to 40 years in prison while his deputy Tikhumporn Natvaratat got 32 years. Akharapong Theepwatchara, ex-director of the department’s Rice Trade Administration Bureau, got 24 years.

Apichart Chansakulporn, an executive of the rice exporter Siam Indica Co Ltd, was sentenced to 48 years. Along with his company, he was also ordered to pay 16.9 billion baht {$512 million} in damages to the Thai finance ministry.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is said to have fled Thailand before a scheduled court verdict on August 25 that could have led to her imprisonment. The statement has been made by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and is supported by a report in Khaosod newspaper which wrote that Yingluck fled to Dubai via Cambodia and Singapore to join her fugitive brother there.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is said to have fled Thailand before a scheduled court verdict on August 25 that could have led to her imprisonment. The statement has been made by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and is supported by a report in Khaosod newspaper which wrote that Yingluck fled to Dubai via Cambodia and Singapore to join her fugitive brother there.

According to Khaosod, Yingluck was last seen paying homage at a temple in Bangkok on August 23 and has then been flying to Phnom Penh presumably in a private jet. From there, she took a flight to Singapore where she met her brother Thaksin Shinawatra and both then flew to Dubai where Thaksin is a resident and has a big villa. Reportedly, Yingluck has taken her 15-year-old son with her.

She could have received a tip-off that the verdict would not be in her favour, observers noted.

A Thai court issued an arrest warrant for Yingluck after she failed to show up on August 25 to hear a verdict in a negligence case. The verdict threatened to reopen fissures in Thai society that have triggered violent clashes over the past decade between urban royalists and rural backers.

Yingluck was impeached in 2015 and banned from politics for five years for alleged corruption in her party’s rice-purchasing programme. She was also hit with a 35-billion-baht ($1.1 billion) fine over the allegations of negligence in overseeing the policy, which purchased grain at above-market rates to help farmers.

Her brother Thaksin fled abroad to avoid jail time on corruption charges brought after his own government’s ouster in a 2006 coup.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok court sentenced Yingluck’s former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom to 42 years in jail on August 25 after finding him guilty of falsifying government-to-government rice deals between Thailand and China.

Boonsong’s former deputy Poom Sarapol was sentenced to 36 years in the case. Manas Soiploy, former chief of the Foreign Trade Department, was sentenced to 40 years in prison while his deputy Tikhumporn Natvaratat got 32 years. Akharapong Theepwatchara, ex-director of the department’s Rice Trade Administration Bureau, got 24 years.

Apichart Chansakulporn, an executive of the rice exporter Siam Indica Co Ltd, was sentenced to 48 years. Along with his company, he was also ordered to pay 16.9 billion baht {$512 million} in damages to the Thai finance ministry.

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