Local media late on Wednesday (Oct 4) quoted Pheu Thai Party sources as saying Yingluck, who fled a five-year prison sentence in connection with the graft tainted rice-pledging scheme, had been granted asylum in the United Kingdom.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who oversees national security affairs, told reporters he did not know anything about reports that Yingluck was seeking asylum and said he did not have any information about it.
Gen Prawit, who is also the defence minister, reiterated that he did not meet Yingluck when he visited the United Kingdom last month, saying he spent two days in talks with the UK deputy foreign minister and his defence counterpart before returning to Bangkok.
“Had I really met her there, it would have been impossible to cover it up. No way,” said Gen Prawit.
Asked whether the former premier was still in London, Gen Prawit said he did not know and that Yingluck needed to step up and confirm this herself.
Meanwhile, army chief Gen Chalermchai Sitthisad also said he knew nothing about Yingluck’s reported political asylum request and another unconfirmed report about moves to set up a government-in-exile.
Gen Pallop Pinmanee, a former adviser to Yingluck while she was prime minister, said Yingluck is likely to announce soon why she left Thailand. She would also explain how she will go about obtaining asylum, the general said.
Some Pheu Thai sources revealed that Yingluck had already been granted political asylum from the UK on the ground that Thailand is still ruled by a military regime, which has suppressed elected figures.
Meanwhile, key Pheu Thai Party figures yesterday scoffed at the report about the possible establishment of a government-in-exile.
“This report is groundless”, said acting Pheu Thai Party secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai, adding the party has received no information about Yingluck.
He said he believed Yingluck would personally explain what is going on, and that no one should speak on her behalf.
Acting Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard echoed Mr Phumtham’s comments, saying the government-in-exile report was groundless.
Pheu Thai members want to see the country at peace and reconcile so no one would make such a move, he said.
Another Pheu Thai source said Yingluck was still in the UK as a tourist. The source refused to disclose which passport she used to get there.
She sees the UK as the country to seek asylum in, the source said, adding she is in the process of drafting an asylum application.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Busadee Santipitaks said the ministry has received a police request seeking the revocation of Yingluck’s passport. The ministry is proceeding with the necessary steps to do so, she added.
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