BANGKOK - Thai agencies must investigate a recently released photo that purportedly shows former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra at a shopping mall in London, the ruling junta's governing body said.
The photo was released by New18 TV on Friday (Dec 29), prompting the National Council for Peace and Order's spokesman Major-General Piyapong Klingpan to call on the authorities to investigate the matter, The Nation reported.
Yingluck appeared to be alone at the time the picture was taken, the channel said.
Busadee Santipitaks, director-general of the Department of Information and spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the ministry has learnt about the matter from the media, and had so far not obtained any further information, The Nation said.
Yingluck fled the country a few days before the Supreme Court was set to rule in August in a case against her of dereliction of duty over her government's rice pledging scheme. She has not been seen in public since.
The court on Sept 27 sentenced her to five years without suspension for malfeasance of duty.
Her four passports have been revoked, while the Thai authorities have been trying to identify her location and have her arrested. She reportedly fled to London after stopping in Dubai.
Separately, the Bangkok Post quoted a source close to Yingluck as saying the woman in the photo was "likely" to be the former prime minister but she could not say when it was taken.
"I've visited her in England once (since August) and she was well and in good spirits. It's like she has let go of things, politically," the source said.
Yingluck was leading a "normal" life rather than acting like someone who was on the run, but she still avoided places where Thai people might recognise her, the source added.
"She doesn't go out wearing a disguise but she sometimes wears sunglasses."