BANGKOK — Thai police said Tuesday they are seeking an international request for the arrest of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is believed to be in England after fleeing to Dubai to evade a prison sentence.
Deputy Police Commissioner Gen. Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul said the United Arab Emirates confirmed that Yingluck went from Dubai to England. He also said he asked the international police organization Interpol on Sunday to issue a red notice — a request to locate and provisionally arrest someone pending extradition — for Yingluck.
Yingluck, whose government was ousted in a 2014 coup, was sentenced in absentia to five years’ imprisonment on Sept. 27 for negligence in instituting a money-losing rice subsidy program. She fled Thailand before the verdict and has called the case against her politically motivated.
Srivara said he cited a Thai arrest warrant for Yingluck as part of the request for a red notice.
“If Interpol can issue the red notice then authorities can proceed (with the arrest),” Srivara said, but added that he could not speak for British authorities about whether they would arrest her.
Srivara refused to comment on whether Interpol would comply with the request and issue a red notice, as there could be objections that the case against Yingluck is political in nature and she could potentially qualify for political asylum.
Deputy Police spokesman Col. Krissana Pattanacharoen said Monday that police have already sent a request to Thailand’s foreign ministry to revoke Yingluck’s passport.
Yingluck’s conviction is the latest chapter in a decade-long struggle between the country’s traditional ruling class — led by royalists and the military — and the powerful political machine founded by Yingluck’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled in a 2006 coup. Thaksin has lived in Dubai since fleeing a corruption conviction he says was politically motivated.
Thai police are also investigating their own officers who are suspected of having helped Yingluck flee. At least three police officers have been questioned so far in connection with the allegations.
Since the 2014 coup, Thailand’s military government has cracked down on dissent, including exercising more control over the police, long seen as a rival for influence as well as sympathetic to the Shinawatra political machine.