Gen Prawit dismisses speculation about Mrs Yaowapa’s escape

Deputy Prime Miniser Prawit Wongsuwan dismissed speculation that Mrs Yaowapa Wongsawat, younger sister of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has slipped out of the country to escape probable criminal charges related to the controversial government-to-government rice deal with a Chinese firm.

Citing a report of the immigration police, he said this morning  there was no evidence whatsoever that Mrs Yaowapa had left the country as widely speculated by the media.

Asked by a reporter whether it was possible that Mrs Yaowapa slipped out of the country through other channels besides immigration checkpoints like former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the deputy prime minister said he didn’t know but, however, quickly asked why she had to run since she had not been charged yet.

Speculation of Mrs Yaowapa taking flight to join her two siblings emerged after the son of former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyaphirom, reputed to be the right-hand man of Mrs Yaowapa, defected from the Pheu Thai party to join the pro-government Palang Pracharat party amidst rumour Boonsong might have spilled the beans about the G-to-G rice controversy to implicate several more people.

Boonsong is serving a 42-year jjail term after he was found guilty of malfeasance in office in connection with the rice controversy by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Offices.  Several other high-ranking commerce officials and businessmen were also given heavy jail terms by the court.

When asked about the same matter on Tuesday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha admitted he didn’t know the whereabouts of Mrs Yaowapa, but believed she was still in the country, noting that there was no need for her to run away as she had not bee charged of any wrongdoings.

“Why afraid if she thinks she is innocent and did everything in accordance with the law?,” said the prime minister.


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