Government officials have again denied claims that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra fled her country via Cambodia to escape judgement in a court case last month.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said officials had already confirmed that Ms Yingluck did not cross the Cambodian border, while he urged Thai police to investigate their own CCTV footage.
If the authorities had come across her, she would have been sent back to Thailand immediately, he added.
“Thai police were deployed around her house and also had CCTV cameras. She escaped from Thai police and now they are asking Cambodian police where she is. How would we know? That question should be asked to Thai police, not us,” Mr Sopheak said.
According to a Bangkok Post article published yesterday, Thai national deputy police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said two vehicles were involved in transporting Ms Yingluck to the border province of Sa Kaeo.
Citing a police investigation, Pol Gen Srivara said one left the former premier’s house on Aug 23, two days before the Supreme Court was due to rule on Ms Yingluck’s criminal negligence case over her administration’s failed rice-pledging scheme.
She is believed to have switched vehicles before the second car drove her to Sa Kaeo on the Cambodian border, he noted.
CCTV footage shows a woman was inside the vehicle but it cannot be confirmed whether this was Ms Yingluck, Pol Gen Srivara said, adding experts are in the process of examining the footage.
Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen told a meeting of 5,000 factory workers in Phnom Penh there was no record of Ms Yingluck coming through the country.
“All airlines checked on Ms Yingluck’s disappearance and alleged travel through Cambodia,” Mr Hun Sen said.
Ms Yingluck failed to show up at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions in Bangkok last month for the ruling in her trial for alleged dereliction of duty in overseeing her government’s loss-ridden rice-pledging scheme. She is liable to a maximum prison term of 10 years if convicted.
Ms Yingluck’s family is known to have close ties to Cambodia.
Her brother Thaksin, also a former prime minister of Thailand now living in exile in Dubai, fled his homeland to escape court action in 2008.
He was briefly hired by Prime Minister Hun Sen as an economic adviser in 2009, but was dropped from the role after outcry from Thailand.