Des­per­ately seek­ing asy­lum

Bangkok Post - - SPOTLIGHT -

While no one in the gov­ern­ment has con­firmed ex­actly where for­mer prime min­is­ter Yingluck Shi­nawa­tra is af­ter flee­ing a five-year prison sen­tence in con­nec­tion with the graft-tainted rice-pledg­ing scheme, re­cent lo­cal and for­eign me­dia re­ports claim Yingluck is now in the United King­dom seek­ing po­lit­i­cal asy­lum.

A Pheu Thai Party source told the Bangkok Post that Yingluck’s brother, ex-premier Thaksin Shi­nawa­tra, had made prepa­ra­tions to help his sis­ter more than three years in ad­vance in the event she had to face the same fate as him.

Thaksin has lived in self-im­posed ex­ile af­ter flee­ing the coun­try in an ap­par­ent bid to avoid a two-year prison stint in the Ratchadaphisek land case.

The source said that Thaksin has in­vested many bil­lions of baht in a health­care busi­ness in the south of Lon­don, and that he has had a lux­u­ri­ous man­sion worth nearly 300 million baht built nearby for his sis­ter to be­come a hospi­tal ex­ec­u­tive, and to en­sure that she will be able to con­tinue to live a com­fort­able life over­seas.

But for now, Yingluck has to keep her fin­gers crossed that the UK will ap­prove her re­quest for po­lit­i­cal asy­lum. She has also ap­plied for asy­lum-seeker sta­tus for her only son, Su­pasek Amorn­chat, to fur­ther his stud­ies in the UK, the source said.

The source said her asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tion will take six months to be pro­cessed be­fore the re­sult will be an­nounced. If she is granted asy­lum, she will be al­lowed to stay in the UK for five years, the source added.

Apart from the fact that the UK is a party to the 1951 Con­ven­tion Re­lat­ing to the Sta­tus of Refugees, Yingluck has also cho­sen the coun­try be­cause Thaksin has a res­i­dence and a busi­ness there, and the coun­try also has sev­eral lead­ing ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes for her son to choose from, the source said.

“She did not choose Dubai, even though the coun­try does not have an ex­tra­di­tion treaty with Thai­land, be­cause there were some prob­lems in­volv­ing schools for her son while the US is too far away for her fam­ily to visit. There­fore, the UK is the best op­tion,” the source said.

More than a month af­ter Yingluck shocked the na­tion with her van­ish­ing act, af­ter ear­lier in­sist­ing she would see the case through to its con­clu­sion, the Supreme Court’s Di­vi­sion for Hold­ers of Po­lit­i­cal Po­si­tions found her guilty of crim­i­nal neg­li­gence for not pre­vent­ing cor­rup­tion and ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in her gov­ern­ment’s fake G2G sales. The court sen­tenced her to five years in prison.

Yingluck es­caped shortly be­fore Aug 25 when the Supreme Court was orig­i­nally sched­uled to de­liver the rul­ing on her gov­ern­ment’s loss-rid­den rice-pledg­ing case. The court then post­poned the rul­ing to Sept 27, when it handed down the sen­tence.

In­ter­pol has agreed to is­sue an in­ter­na­tional alert to mem­ber coun­tries to lo­cate Yingluck. The Royal Thai Po­lice ear­lier sent In­ter­pol an ar­rest war­rant which was is­sued af­ter she failed to turn up to hear the rul­ing in her case.

Yingluck: Wants to set­tle in UK, not Dubai

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