PAD: Who helped Yingluck flee?

People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) members on Saturday issue a statement demanding an investigation into former premier Yingluck Shinawatra’s escape. They also renewed their call for the anti-graft agency to appeal the acquittal of four members of another Shinawatra-linked government on charges related to a deadly crackdown on yellow-shirt PAD protesters in 2008. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is demanding that the government investigate the escape of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and severely punish any state officials who helped her flee the country.

Ms Yingluck is now reported to be where her exiled brother Thaksin lives, having fled the country before she was due to appear at the Supreme Court in Bangkok on Friday for the ruling in her negligence case. She is believed to have travelled overland to Cambodia and then flown to the United Arab Emirates via Singapore. 

High-level sources told the Bangkok Post on Friday that in the escape. They feared that a guilty ruling and jail term would lead to unrest among Ms Yingluck’s many supporters, 3,000 of whom to see her at the Supreme Court.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Prawit Wongsuwon conceded on Friday that it was likely Ms Yingluck had fled the country.

The PAD said Ms Yingluck’s escape reflected a failure on the part of security authorities, leading to speculation that the failure was allowed to happen.

They pointed out that Ms Yingluck for months had been closely shadowed by soldiers, to the point where she complained on social media about privacy violations. They noted that Gen Prawit on Feb 29 last year had said soldiers were needed to provide protection for Ms Yingluck and to help maintain peace and order in a politically tense time.

As Ms Yingluck had fled the country, the government and the NCPO must be held responsible, said the PAD, the official name for the yellow-shirt movement that began life a decade ago to protest against the goverment of Thaksin Shinawatra and its later incarnations.

In their statement on Saturday PAD leaders also renewed their call for the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to appeal against the acquittal of four officials in connection with the deadly crackdown on yellow-shirt protesters in 2008.

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions ruled on Aug 2 that the four defendants could not be held directly responsible for the violence that ensued after PAD members attempted to blockade Parliament.

The four defendants are former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat (Thaksin’s brother-in-law), former deputy prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, former police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwon and former metropolitan police chief Suchart Muankaew. 

The crackdown on Oct 7, 2008 resuled in two deaths and 471 injuries.

The NACC has 30 days to file an appeal but has taken no action so far, said the PAD. Veera Somkwamkid, a PAD leader, has been assigned to send a petition to the NACC on Monday to ask it to take action.

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