Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra appears to be staying in the Mideast commercial hub of Dubai after fleeing a criminal conviction, Thailand’s prime minister said Thursday in the first word on her whereabouts.
“I know, but I won’t say yet”, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, a then-army chief who toppled Yingluck’s government in a May 2014 coup, told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting.
Yingluck’s co-defendant, former Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, was last month sentenced to 42 years in jail by the court.
It was the first public assertion by top regime leaders about former leader’s whereabouts since she fled the country just days before her verdict was originally to be read on August 25.
A fresh arrest warrant has been issued.
Wissanu said that there remain other active laws, which can be invoked to pursue Yingluck’s case.
“It is not my issue”, he told reporters.
In recent days, rumors have placed her in London where she was said to be applying for political asylum.
Fewer supporters showed up at the court to hear the verdict than the initial court date last month.
Thai authorities investigating how she escaped said last week they have questioned three police officers who admitted to helping Yingluck flee. Most said the ruling was expected and that it was fortunate she had fled the country.
She is the sister of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a telecommunications tycoon.
On Tuesday, Prayut revealed that he knew about Yingluck’s whereabouts as he had spies.
He was ousted in a 2006 coup by Thailand’s military amid charges of corruption and alleged disrespect for the monarchy, which he long has denied.