Four passports of fugitive former Thai PM Yingluck revoked

Yingluck Shinawatra was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison, having fled Thailand before her hearing.
Yingluck Shinawatra was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison, having fled Thailand before her hearing.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK - Passports belonging to fugitive former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra have been revoked, the police announced on Monday (Oct 30).

Deputy police chief chief General Srivara Ransibramanakul said he was informed by the Foreign Ministry that four passports had been revoked, two of which were diplomatic passports, reported the Khao Sod daily newspaper.

The move was precipitated by Yingluck's failure to appeal her conviction in a malfeasance case pertaining to a rice subsidy scheme after fleeing the country.

The lapse of a Friday deadline for the appeal means that barring a legal reversal or Yingluck's return to Thailand, she will remain a fugitive for life. A new law on political crimes in Thailand means that her conviction and sentence will remain in place for perpetuity.

The deputy head of the Attorney General's working group on the case, Mr Surasak Trirattrakoon, said from now on, the focus would be on relevant organisations bringing Yingluck to justice, as the case had reached finality.

A lawyer for Yingluck said that he had not received any instructions from his client by the deadline. Mr Norawit Lalaeng said he did not file an appeal as he had not heard from the 50-year-old Yingluck since she fled the country in late August.

Yingluck was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison for failing to combat corruption in the rice subsidy scheme, a signature policy of her government, as well as a bogus government-to-government rice deal with China.

She is believed to be in either Dubai or London and has reportedly sought political asylum in Britain. She has not been seen in public, nor made a statement, since her dramatic disappearance from Thailand.