Thai PM says former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is in Dubai

Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters at the supreme court building in Bangkok on Aug. 22 2017

Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters at the supreme court building in Bangkok on Aug. 22 2017

The leader of Thailand's military junta said on Thursday that Yingluck Shinawatra, the prime minister he ousted three years ago, was in Dubai, where she fled last month to avoid being jailed over a rice subsidy scheme that lost billions of dollars.

The former prime minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, has been given a five-year jail sentence for her role in an allegedly corrupt scheme involving subsidies to rice farmers.

The Supreme Court convicted her of mishandling the scheme which allegedly cost Thailand at least $8 billion.

It had been generally assumed that Yingluck was in Dubai or London, since her brother, ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, maintains residences in both locations.

Once a fresh arrest warrant is issued, Thai authorities may proceed with extradition efforts, he told reporters.

Kan Yuengyong, executive director of the Siam Intelligence Unit think-tank, said Wednesday's sentence marked the end of her political career, adding that it was unlikely she would return to Thailand in the near future.

Female police officers stand guard outside the Supreme Court in Bangkok, Wednesday, Sept. 27, as the judiciary delivered its verdict on case against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

But a source in the United Arab Emirates said Yingluck left Dubai for London on September 11, without giving further details.

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Yingluck is believed to have fled the country ahead of the verdict day that was originally scheduled last month.

Yingluck's government was overthrown in a military coup in 2014.

Police General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said the police search was not an attack on Yingluck but that police were "investigating a criminal case against a deputy commander who has been formally charged". "Dubai officials informed our foreign ministry that they will not allow Yingluck to make any political move".

Throughout her trial, Yingluck said she was innocent and she was not responsible for the day-to-day running of the scheme, arguing that she was a victim of political persecution.

Shinawatra-backed parties have dominated electoral politics since 2001, enraging Bangkok's military-allied elite.

Thai police on Thursday raided Yingluck's home in eastern Bangkok, armed with a search warrant.

Norrawit Larlaeng, a lawyer for Yingluck, told reporters outside the court that an appeal was being discussed.

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