Thursday, November 21, 2019

Prayut: ‘Who would let Yingluck flee?’

Aug 28. 2017
File photo: Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.
File photo: Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.
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By Jitraporn Senawong
The Nation

5,594 Viewed

Junta head and Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday denied speculation that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) deliberately let fugitive former PM Yingluck Shinawatra slip out of the country, saying it was beyond his expectation.

“I didn’t think it would happen. In the morning [of the verdict], I still thought that she would go to court, following the procedure. I respected her,” Prayut said.

Bombarded with questions about the incident, Prayut said furiously: “Who would let her flee? How come, why did you think like this?"

Prayut said he had instructed security officers to find out how the former premier left of the country. They would also look at flaws in the process to prevent it happening again.

Previously, when it was unclear whether she was guilty or innocent, it was difficult to follow Yingluck around because they respected her privacy, he said.

Officers had been criticised over their possible violation of human rights, Prayut noted, adding that that had made everything difficult.

He didn’t want people to blame the security officers, saying that the media should tone down the criticism. He stressed that it would be “insane” if officers intentionally let her flee.

Asked if he thought that the two fugitive former prime ministers and siblings would work together and make political moves, Prayut said the Thai people should think for themselves in this eventuality.

However, he added there was hardly anything the government could do about the issue, especially when the media gave it so much attention.

While saying he didn’t want to argue with the media, Prayut said he wished the media would lend a helping hand and help make the country peaceful.

Officers now would check with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about Yingluck’s departure, he explained. But if the ministry insisted there were no records, there was hardly anything the government could do, he said.

Prayut said he only learned from the media about Yingluck’s possible whereabouts. The government would try to contact the country in which she was believed to be, he said.

Prayut encouraged anyone with information about the fugitive to come forward and he would help to verify it.

Asked whether Yingluck’s passport would be revoked, Prayut said the correct procedure would be followed. The government would do as much as the law allowed, he said. But he stressed that he wanted the country to be peaceful and have unity.

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