YINGLUCK FLEES THAILAND AHEAD OF ‘TRUMPED-UP’ VERDICT

Former Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra has fled abroad, sources say, ahead of a verdict in her trial over a rice subsidy scheme.

Sources close to her party say she made the decision to leave unexpectedly, shortly before the verdict was due in Bangkok.

Ms Yingluck failed to appear at the Supreme Court in Bangkok on Friday for the verdict on charges of negligence.

The court issued an arrest warrant for her and confiscated her bail.

Her lawyers told the court she had been unable to attend because she was ill. But the court rejected this and delayed the verdict to 27 September.

Ms Yingluck has denied any wrongdoing in the scheme which cost Thailand billions of dollars. If found guilty, she could be jailed for up to 10 years and permanently banned from politics.

 

Supporters of ousted former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra react while wait for her at the Supreme Court in Bangkok, Thailand August 25, 2017Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionHundreds of Ms Yingluck’s supporters had gathered outside the court

Sources within Ms Yingluck’s Puea Thai Party told Reuters that she had “definitely left Thailand” but did not give details of her whereabouts.

Earlier, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said all routes out of the country were being closely monitored.

“I just learned that she did not show up [at court],” he told reporters. “I have ordered border checkpoints to be stepped up.”

In another development, a former Thai minister also charged in connection with the rice subsidy scheme was jailed for 42 years on Friday.

Boonsong Teriyapirom was found guilty of falsifying rice deals between Thailand and China.

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-BBC

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