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Former Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra fled to Dubai ahead of the verdict in her trial over a rice subsidy scheme, members of her party have said.

Puea Thai Party sources said Yingluck Shinawatra left Thailand last week.

It was revealed on August 25 that Yingluck Shinawatra, who is charged with negligence, had gone abroad but the destination was not known.

When the former prime minister failed to appear in court, an arrest warrant was issued and her bail was confiscated.

Dubai is where her brother, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, lives in self-imposed exile. He went there to avoid a 2008 jail sentence for corruption.

“We heard that she went to Cambodia and then Singapore, from where she flew to Dubai. She has arrived safely and is there now,” a senior member of the Shinawatras’ party told Reuters.

Deputy national police chief General Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul said police had no record of Yingluck Shinawatra leaving the country and were following the matter closely.

Image source Wikimedia

Former Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra Flees Country Ahead of Verdict

Yingluck Shinawatra ordered to stand trial for negligence over rice subsidy scheme

Yingluck Shinawatra indicted over Thai rice subsidy scheme

Thailand’s Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said Yingluck Shinawatra’s location would “be clear soon”.

Judges have postponed the negligence verdict until September 27.

Yingluck Shinawatra, 50, has denied any wrongdoing in the rice subsidy scheme, which cost Thailand billions of dollars.

If found guilty at the end of the two-year trial, the former prime minister could be jailed for up to 10 years and permanently banned from politics.

Yingluck Shinawatra’s lawyer had requested a delay in the ruling, telling the Supreme Court that she had vertigo and a severe headache and was unable to attend.

However, the court said in a statement that it did not believe she was sick as there was no medical certificate, and that the alleged sickness was not severe enough to prevent her travelling to court.

The statement said: “Such behavior convincingly shows that she is a flight risk. As a result, the court has issued an arrest warrant and confiscated the posted bail money.”

Yingluck Shinawatra posted $900,000 bail at the beginning of her trial.

Thailand’s first female prime minister was impeached in 2015 over the rice scheme by a military-backed legislature, which then brought the legal case.

The scheme, part of Yingluck Shinawatra’s election campaign platform, was launched shortly after she took office.

It was aimed at boosting farmers’ incomes and alleviating rural poverty, and saw the government paying farmers nearly twice the market rate for their crop.

However, it hit Thailand’s rice exports hard, leading to a loss of at least $8 billion and huge stockpiles of rice which the government could not sell.

Though it was popular with Yingluck Shinawatra’s rural voter base, opponents said the scheme was too expensive and open to corruption.


Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra has been summoned by an anti-corruption panel to hear charges of negligence over a government rice subsidy scheme.

Yingluck Shinawatra’s opponents, who are seeking to replace her, say the program was rife with corruption.

If found guilty, the prime minister could be removed from office and face a five-year ban from politics.

Thailand’s political crisis has become increasingly violent since mass anti-government protests began in November.

Yingluck Shinawatra, who flew to the northern city of Chiang Rai on Wednesday, will not attend the hearing at the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in person.

NACC officials say she will be represented by her lawyer, who will hear the charges set against her.

The prime minister, who denies the corruption charges, says she is willing to co-operate with the NACC “to establish the facts”.

 Yingluck Shinawatra has been summoned by an anti-corruption panel to hear charges of negligence over a government rice subsidy scheme

Yingluck Shinawatra has been summoned by an anti-corruption panel to hear charges of negligence over a government rice subsidy scheme

The rice subsidy programme – a flagship policy of Yingluck Shinawatra’s administration – saw the Thai government buying farmers’ crops for the past two years at prices up to 50% higher than world prices.

The policy was originally popular with farmers. However, it has led to Thailand’s rice exports being badly hit and accumulated losses of at least $4.4 billion.

Recently, the scheme has left many farmers out of pocket, as the government cannot borrow money to make the payments until a new parliament has convened.

Yingluck Shinawatra says she was only in charge of formulating the policy, not the day-to-day running of the scheme. She has also complained that the commission has treated her unfairly.

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