World Bulletin / News Desk
Thailand's ex-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has fled Thailand, a senior party source told AFP, after she skipped a court appearance Friday that could have seen her jailed, prompting the Supreme Court to issue a warrant for her arrest.
Thousands of supporters -- outnumbered by security forces -- waited from dawn for a glimpse of the ousted leader, but she did not show. A senior party source told AFP "she is definitely no longer here, she is likely in Singapore now."
Thailand is deeply divided between the Shinawatras and their political base, which is mainly drawn from the rural poor; and a royalist army-aligned elite, who loathe the clan and refuse to cede power to democratic governments.
Yingluck's government was removed by a military coup in 2014.
In a day of high drama, Yingluck ducked her court hearing for negligence over a flagship rice subsidy policy, which carried up to 10 years in prison and a life ban from politics.
"Her lawyer said she is sick and asked to delay the ruling... the court does not believe she is sick... and has decided to issue an arrest warrant," fearing she may flee the country, lead judge Cheep Chulamon told the court, rescheduling the verdict to September 27.
A minister in her government was jailed hours later for 42 years in a separate trial for corruption linked to the policy.
Thai junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha denied knowledge of her whereabouts but ordered border checkpoints "to be stepped up," while his number-two Prawit Wongsuwon said it was "possible" Yingluck had fled through neighbouring Cambodia.
Requesting anonymity, the senior source in the Shinawatras' Pheu Thai party told AFP that she left Thailand on Wednesday, adding "it's impossible she left without the military green light."
Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Ağustos 2017, 13:35