Thailand confirms fugitive ex-leader is in UK

Thailand confirms fugitive ex-leader is in UK
Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra receives flowers from her supporters on her arrival at the Supreme Court in August 2017. Pic: AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

Thailand has said former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who fled the country last year to evade a prison sentence, is in the UK after photos surfaced online apparently showing her in London.

Yingluck, whose government was ousted in a 2014 coup, was sentenced in her absence to five years in prison on September 27 for negligence in instituting a money-losing rice subsidy programme.

She fled Thailand before the verdict and has called the case against her politically motivated.

She has not been seen in public since fleeing, but it had been generally assumed that she was in Dubai or London.

Her brother, ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has homes in both cities.

Foreign minister Don Pramudwinai told reporters that a visiting British government minister had informed Thai officials that Yingluck has been in London since September.

The confirmation of her whereabouts came after several photographs of her appeared in Thai and social media in the past few weeks, including one apparently taken with another woman outside Harrods department store in London.

Mr Don said the Thai government has not made a decision on whether to ask Britain to extradite Yingluck.

"We have to do a 360-degree assessment of the situation first," he said.

Yingluck’s conviction is the latest chapter in a decade-long struggle between Thailand’s traditional ruling class - led by royalists and the military - and the powerful political machine founded by Thaksin, who was toppled in a 2006 coup.

He has lived in Dubai since fleeing a corruption conviction he says was politically motivated.

AP

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