Yingluck's four Thai passports revoked by government

PHOTO: Reuters

THE HUNT for former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has hit a snag as Interpol has not yet responded to a Thai police request regarding her whereabouts. Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has revoked her passports.

The ministry confirmed yesterday that Yingluck only possessed four Thai passports.

The ministry has also advised its embassies across the world that Yingluck's passports have been revoked. Deputy National Police |Chief Pol-General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said police were pursuing Yingluck, who was sentenced to five years in prison in connection with her government's rice-pledging scheme, but they had not yet received confirmation from Interpol after seeking its co-operation.

Thai police early this month requested that Interpol issue a blue notice for Yingluck in order to locate her, before applying for a red notice, which would require police in other countries to arrest her.

An Interpol blue notice is a request for help to collect information regarding a suspect's whereabouts or related criminal activities, while a red notice functions as an international arrest warrant.

Interpol then contacted Thai police asking for further information in regard to the blue notice request, but no further communication has occurred since. Srivara added that police did not have any information regarding Yingluck's reported attempt to seek political asylum in the United Kingdom.

However, the deputy police chief said the Foreign Affairs Ministry had revoked four of the former prime minister's passports.

Two were ordinary passports, and the others were diplomatic. The Nation contacted Pol Maj-General Udon Yomcharoen, who oversees police foreign affairs, to ask whether Thai police could continue pursuing her if she were granted political asylum, but Udon declined to comment.

Yingluck's deadline for an appeal passed on Friday without any action by her. The prosecutor also refrained from filing an appeal, meaning the case against her is technically finished with her fugitive status apparently permanent.

Yingluck, who is reportedly in the United Kingdom, was sentenced for negligence in preventing corruption and irregularities in her government's rice-pledging scheme before being toppled by the 2014 coup.

The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders convicted her in absentia and announced her prison sentence on September 27. The law allowed her to appeal within 30 days of the verdict, but she would have had to file the appeal in person from inside Thailand.

"We have not yet received a message from her, therefore we did not make any request to the court to extend the period of appeal," her lawyer Norawit Lalang said on Sunday.

"As we did not make an appeal, the case is technically finalised."

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