Junta OKs Yingluck's Trip To Japan

Yingluck Shinawatra at the funeral of a former Pheu Thai MP on 19 Oct 2014. She left for Japan later that night.

BANGKOK — Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra left for Japan last night after receiving permission from the military junta, its spokesperson said today.

Col. Winthai Suwaree, a spokesperson for the junta's National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), told reporters that Yingluck informed the regime before leaving for Japan with her son last night.

"But I will not disclose the details about her trip and date of return to Thailand, because it is personal information that should not be disclosed to the media," Col. Winthai said at the press conference.

Yingluck and her 12-year-old son Suphasek Amornchat left last night, her aides said, though the exact destination and purpose of the trip was not disclosed.

After staging a coup against Yingluck's government on 22 May, the NCPO stipulated that the former leader must seek permission before traveling abroad. The same requirement has also been applied to scores of other politicians and activists deemed to be sympathetic to Yingluck’s administration. 

When Yingluck applied for permission to travel to Europe in July, shortly after a national anti-graft body found her guilty of corruption, there was intense speculation over whether she was trying to leave Thailand for good to avoid the charges.

Her older brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has been living in self-imposed exile since he was deposed in the 2006 military coup to avoid a corruption conviction.

However, Yingluck returned to Thailand in August and vowed to the fight the charges laid against her by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

In a peculiar coincidence, Sondhi Limthongkul, the co-founder of the Yellowshirt movement that has campaigned extensively against Yingluck and her brother, was also seen leaving for Japan at the same airport last night. 

Sondhi arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport several hours after Yingluck and her son departed. He told reporters simply that he was going to Hokkaido, but did not provide any more details. 


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