CCTV ‘shows ex-PM’s car’ in Sa Kaeo

Bangkok Post - - FRONT PAGE - POST RE­PORTERS

Se­cu­rity cam­eras cap­tured im­ages of a Mercedes-Benz be­lieved to have been used to help former prime min­is­ter Yingluck Shi­nawa­tra flee the na­tion to es­cape a Supreme Court rul­ing last month as the car passed a mil­i­tary camp in Sa Kaeo, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Prawit Wong­su­won says.

The car was not spot­ted again and there was no con­voy ac­com­pa­ny­ing it, he said yes­ter­day, adding the driver would be called in for ques­tion­ing.

Gen Prawit, who also serves as the de­fence min­is­ter, failed to spec­ify when the car passed the camp.

He said he was cu­ri­ous as to why the ve­hi­cle did not ap­pear again on se­cu­rity footage at a check­point on the Cam­bo­dian bor­der. But this was prob­a­bly be­cause Ms Yingluck swapped ve­hi­cles to avoid de­tec­tion, he added.

Of­fi­cials had been asked to in­ves­ti­gate any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity in­volv­ing ve­hi­cles in the area on Aug 23-24 and which other bor­der passes the car could have used to leave the coun­try.

These were the days pre­ced­ing the sched­uled Aug 25 court rul­ing on the ex­premier’s crim­i­nal neg­li­gence case over her ad­min­is­tra­tion’s failed rice-pledg­ing scheme.

Crit­ics say she fled af­ter re­ceiv­ing a tipoff that the court was pre­par­ing to give her a heavy sen­tence. The charge car­ries a max­i­mum 10-year sen­tence.

Na­tional deputy po­lice chief Sri­vara Ran­si­brah­manakul said yes­ter­day in­ves­ti­ga­tors have found ev­i­dence show­ing Ms Yingluck trav­elled to the bor­der prov­ince of Sa Kaeo.

Gen Prawit’s in­for­ma­tion comes from other se­cu­rity agen­cies and is con­sis­tent with that of the po­lice, Pol Gen Sri­vara said.

He also con­firmed the car men­tioned by Gen Prawit is the same ve­hi­cle po­lice have been track­ing. But he said there was no clear ev­i­dence con­firm­ing Ms Yingluck has fled the coun­try.

Pol Gen Sri­vara, who is head­ing the man­hunt, said ear­lier that po­lice had found a ve­hi­cle which they sus­pect was used to help her es­cape be­fore the rul­ing at the Supreme Court’s Crim­i­nal Di­vi­sion for Hold­ers of Po­lit­i­cal Po­si­tions.

He said po­lice have re­viewed se­cu­rity cam­era footage taken in Soi Yoth­in­pat­tana 3 in Bung Kum district on Aug 23-24 and found about 10 ve­hi­cles en­tered or left Ms Yingluck’s com­pound. One is sus­pected of hav­ing been used as her get­away car, he said with­out di­vulging de­tails.

Na­tional po­lice chief Chak­thip Chai­jinda stressed yes­ter­day that Gen Prawit’s in­for­ma­tion about the ve­hi­cle came from other in­tel­li­gence-gath­er­ing agen­cies.

The Royal Thai Po­lice (RTP) were not privy to this, Pol Gen Chak­thip said, adding that Gen Prawit has not yet given any in­struc­tions to the po­lice.

Mean­while, a se­cu­rity source said Ms Yingluck left her house in a Mercedes and changed ve­hi­cle for a Toy­ota Camry. The source claims she en­listed a po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent to drive her to the Cam­bo­dian bor­der town of Poi Pet, where she changed ve­hi­cles.

Au­thor­i­ties are aware of the Mercedes’ licence plate num­ber, the source said

Ms Yingluck was a no-show at the Supreme Court on Aug 25 to hear the rul­ing on whether she should be held re­spon­si­ble for the rice scheme that the cur­rent regime claims cost the coun­try more than 500 bil­lion baht in losses.

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