Ex-Thai PM seeking asylum in UK: Source

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Bangkok: Thailand’s former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was currently in London and seeking political asylum in the UK, an informed source from her Pheu Thai Party has confirmed.

Thailand’s Supreme Court convicted Yingluck on Wednesday of dereliction of duty over a controversial rice subsidy programme and sentenced her to five years in prison. The scheme cost the country billions of dollars, reports CNN.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that Yingluck was in hiding in Dubai, where her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, another former Prime minister, lives in exile.

But the Pheu Thai Party source told CNN on Thursday night that Yingluck left Dubai for London two weeks ago.

The UK’s Home Office, which deals with asylum applications, told CNN it does not comment on individual cases.

Having already fled the country, Yingluck was not present for the verdict and sentencing.

Yingluck — ousted by a military coup in 2014 — had been barred from leaving Thailand without court approval since 2015, when her trial started.

Her bail of 30 million baht ($900,000), posted when the trial began more than two years ago, has been confiscated.

When she was inaugurated in 2011, Yingluck became Thailand’s first female Prime Minister and its youngest in over 60 years.

After the 2014 coup, she was impeached by Thailand’s military-appointed National Legislative Assembly, CNN reported.

The ruling barred her from political office for five years.

Yingluck was investigated by Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) amid an outcry over the rice subsidy scandal, and put on trial. Proceedings have lasted more than two years.

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