CCTV ‘shows ex-PM’s car’ in Sa Kaeo
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.