Prawit: Officials 'must capture Yingluck'

The two photos on the right have confirmed that ex-premier and fugitive Yingluck Shinawatra is in London. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon is threatening officials to catch her or face prosecution themselves for dereliction of duty. (Main photo Twitter/@wassanananuam)

Officials risk facing malfeasance charges if they make no attempt to hunt down former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon says.

Gen Prawit's warning came after the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) revealed on Tuesday that the agency has not yet requested she be extradited due to a lack of information about her whereabouts.

Gen Prawit said Thursday that prosecutors, police and the Foreign Ministry must work together to track down Yingluck or face prosecution under Section 157 of the Criminal Code.

The section concerns malfeasance or dereliction of duty committed by state officials.

Yingluck fled Thailand in late August to escape punishment for allowing corruption to occur under her watch in her government's rice-pledging scheme, just as the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions was set to deliver a ruling in a criminal negligence trial. She was sentenced in absentia to five years behind bars.

Since then speculation has mounted she could be residing with her former premier brother Thaksin Shinawatra in Dubai or applying for asylum in the UK.

Two photos have recently surfaced showing Yingluck in London.

One of them was confirmed by Thai police as authentic. It shows the former premier with another Thai woman outside Harrods department store in London.

Asked if the pictures were released to shame Thai officials for their failed bids to capture the former premier, Gen Prawit said that is not the case, adding: "It remains unknown if Yingluck was using a passport issued by another country." The Foreign Ministry has revoked Yingluck's Thai passports.

Speculation is rife that Yingluck has applied for asylum in England.

A report emerged in December claiming the UK has issued her a passport but Brian Davidson, the UK's ambassador to Thailand, has declined to comment.

Former prime minister and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said it is too early to conclude Yingluck is seeking political asylum in the UK since she may be holding a passport of another country.

She may have requested to enter certain countries as a business investor, Mr Abhisit said.

"Seeking political asylum is an issue between Ms Yingluck and a respective country, which people cannot interfere with," Mr Abhisit said.

Meanwhile, Tida Thavornseth, chief adviser to the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, said there is no chance that Yingluck would be sent back to Thailand.

"We cannot force them [other countries] to do that," Ms Tida said.

She said she believed malfeasance charges would not be brought against officials who fail to bring Yingluck back since they had done their jobs.


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