Thailand’s first female and youngest Prime Minister in about 60 years, Yingluck Shinawatra has allegedly fled the country. This occurred just as a court was about to deliver a verdict in a two-year trial over agricultural subsidies, a source close to her family says.
The source declined to say where she had gone, but Thailand’s top immigration official said there were no records of Yingluck having left through proper channels. Although there is no prove that she indeed fled the country, her absence in the court will be more to her detriment than good.
Yingluck failed to show up to hear the verdict being delivered. Her lawyer said she was ill but the court rejected the explanation and Thailand’s Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant. The lawyer, Norawit Larleang, admitted to CNN that he didn’t know whether the former prime minister was in Thailand or had left.
Yingluck — ousted by a military coup in 2014 — had been barred from leaving Thailand without court approval since 2015, when her trial started.
Her bail of 30 million baht ($900,000), posted when the trial began more than two years ago,has been confiscated.
Yingluck faced up to 10 years in prison for alleged negligence over a rice-buying scheme, which cost the country billions of dollars. The court has set a new date for the verdict of September 27.
Her supporters were disappointed as they waited outside for the verdict outside the court house only to be told Yingluck was absent and will not be showing up.