Former PM Yingluck 'has fled Thailand'

Former PM Yingluck 'has fled Thailand'”

Thailand's military ruler said authorities are searching for Yingluck Shinawatra, the prime minister whose government he ousted in a coup three years ago, after she failed to appear for a verdict Friday in a criminal case that could send her to prison for 10 years.

The Supreme Court postponed the reading of the verdict for the criminal case against Yingluck until September 27 after her lawyer said the former leader was suffering from Meniere's disease and feeling dizzy and thus was unable to attend. "The court does not believe that she is sick... and has chose to issue an arrest warrant", said the judge Cheep Chulamon before the press came in numbers to attend the verdict in the high-voltage to the supreme court.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said some government officials may have helped Yingluck if she made a decision to flee the country and have Friday's court verdict put off until late next month. She may be really ill.

"The Thai prime minister has done her best, she has sacrificed a lot", said Seksan Chalitaporn, 64. He said he was unaware whether she was still in the country.

"It is possible that she has fled already", Prawit told reporters as he left a meeting in Bangkok. However, her opposition will probably see this as a continuation of a tradition for the Shinawatra family to flee from prosecution at home, he added. She pleaded innocent and decried the charges as politically motivated.

The former businesswoman drew hordes of supporters whenever she toured her electoral heartlands, taking endless selfies and being showered with red roses.

As thousands of supporters gathered near the court in Laksi district, the judges rejected her explanation she had Meniere's disease and was suffering from vertigo, after her lawyer failed to present a medical certificate, reports The Bangkok Post.

Another woman has been shouting: "She will definitely come".

Throughout the past few months, Thailand's political temperature has been rising following the heated court case of Yingluck, who is accused of mismanaging Thailand's rice subsidy program.

Yingluck on Thursday had urged her supporters to avoid thronging the court complex in Bangkok, as Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha's military administration steps up security to avert unrest. It remains to be seen who will replace her as party leader, and what will happen when the military's ban on political activities is lifted ahead of a general election - which is not expected to be before the fourth quarter of 2018. But Yingluck and her aides have insisted she respects the justice system and would contest her charge to the end.

Yingluck is on trial over her administration's rice subsidy scheme which paid farmers almost twice the market rate for their crop.

Throughout her trial Yingluck defended the scheme, saying she acted in good faith to raise the incomes of the poorest and was the victim of "a subtle political game". He lives between London, Dubai, and Hong Kong, allegedly traveling with a Montenegrin passport.

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