Former Thailand PM flees to Dubai rather than face negligence verdict

Former Thailand prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has fled to Dubai in the face of an arrest warrant issued by the Thai Supreme Court.


Yingluck, the first woman prime minister of Thailand, has been on trial for negligence over the last two years. A verdict hearing was scheduled for Friday, but she didn’t show up, prompting the court’s arrest order.
Local media reported that Yingkluck crossed the Thailand-Cambodia border before heading to the United Arab Emirates. CNN confirmed with a party source that the former prime minister is “safe and sound” in Dubai, after fleeing Wednesday.

Government officials have worried that Yingluck’s potential conviction may spark violent protests throughout the nation, particularly in the rural areas where she has strong support.

That rural support is central to Yingluck’s negligence case, her critics say. They claim a rice subsidy program for formers, started in 2011 when she came to power, led to the loss of billions of dollars in government money and exorbitant inventories of rice under her watch.

Yingluck said those accusations are politically motivated. A coup pushed her out of power in 2014.

Her brother, also an embattled former prime minister of Thailand, met a similar fate. A coup ousted Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006.

The court has scheduled a new verdict hearing for Sept. 27. Yingluck faces as many as 10 years in prison and authorities have already seized her bail money — worth about $900,000.

By Sam Howard