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Officials in the dark over hunt for fugitive Yingluck

Mom Sophon / Khmer Times Share:
This file photo shows a woman holding an image of former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra with her brother. AFP

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday denied reports that Thai authorities have asked for help in tracking down former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Chum Sounry said “the ministry has not received any request from the Thai side”.

His comments came after Thai media reported officials had contacted their counterparts in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates in the hunt for Ms Yingluck, who they believe travelled through one or more of the countries to escape.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said his Foreign Ministry was seeking cooperation with the six countries through diplomatic channels and checking immigration points along Thai borders to find Ms Yingluck, who fled the kingdom shortly before the Supreme Court ruling in her trial for dereliction of duty in managing her government’s loss-ridden rice-pledging scheme.

Thai media have suggested several theories on Ms Yingluck’s escape route through Cambodia.

Some say she entered the country by boat via Koh Kong province. Others said she may have come by helicopter from Thailand’s Trat or Chachoengsao provinces, while another theory is that she drove over the border to Phnom Penh, where she caught a flight out of the country.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday denied allowing Ms Yingluck to transit through the country to Dubai.

“All airlines checked on Ms Yingluck’s disappearance and alleged travel through Cambodia,” Mr Hun Sen said.

Thai newspaper the Nation reported that Thai army chief General Chalermchai Sitthisat believed Ms Yingluck’s escape was well planned, with advance preparations made with the help of her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled by a coup in 2006 and now lives in exile in Dubai.

Gen Chalermchai added that she discarded her mobile phone and stopped using her usual vehicle shortly before her disappearance.

The army chief said he believed Ms Yingluck had left the country, even though there was no clear evidence that she had done so.

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