PM Prayut says former PM Yingluck is in Dubai

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha says his predecessor, Yingluck Shinawatra, is in Dubai.

"I have learned unofficially from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that she is in Dubai", Gen Prayut told reporters, adding that the ministry has been tracking Yingluck's whereabouts.

The source spoke after the leader of Thailand's military junta said that Shinawatra, the prime minister he ousted three years ago, was in Dubai, having fled there last month to avoid being jailed over a rice subsidy scheme that lost billions of dollars.

The information on her whereabouts confirmed media speculation on her escape to Dubai last month, where her older brother, exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra owns a house there. The court postponed the reading to Wednesday due to her absence. A warrant was issued for her arrest.

In recent days, rumors have placed her in London where she was said to be applying for political asylum.

"The bottom line is that the Shinawatras have corruption problems and their elected governments are flawed but their unintended legacy of helping and connecting with the masses will need to be openly adopted by their opponents if Thailand is to move on".

Neither Yingluck or Thaksin commented publicly immediately after the verdict.

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Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, a key architect of the coup that took down Yingluck's government, said "it's good she is in Dubai".

Meanwhile, Meechai cited the amended Anti-Corruption Act of 2015 as stipulating that the court verdict handed down onto defendant politicians such as Yingluck has no legal age, meaning the former lady leader could possibly be put in jail if found and arrested by authorities at any time.

The Shinawatra siblings lie at the centre of a political battle that has chewed at Thailand for more than a decade.

Yingluck has denied the charges, claiming they were politically motivated. Shinawatra-backed parties have dominated electoral politics ever since, inflaming Bangkok's military-allied elite.

Yingluck's lawyer, Norawit Lalaeng, told reporters that her legal team will study the full verdict before making a decision on whether to appeal.

The ruling junta has promised to hold an election in 2018, though changes to the constitution have ensured the military holds on to some role governing the country.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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