Thailand’s two fugitive prime ministers, Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra, left Japan for Hong Kong on Tuesday, Japan News reported, quoting sources close to the pair.
Both siblings had been in Tokyo since Saturday.
It was widely reported that Yingluck, who absconded last year a few days before a Supreme Court was supposed to deliver its verdict in a negligence case connected to her government’s rice-pledging scheme, will hold a press conference in Hong Kong.
Yingluck last year was sentenced in absentia by the Supreme Court to five years in prison for negligence regarding the scheme, which incurred major losses for the state coffers.
Her elder brother was deposed as prime minister in a military coup in 2006 and subsequently fled abroad to avoid a corruption conviction.
Yingluck, who is believed to have visited Japan for the first time after fleeing Thailand, was accompanied by Thaksin as well as Somchai Wongsawat, their brother-in-law and another former prime minister. They stayed in Japan for “private purposes”, sources said.
Yingluck was granted permission to enter the country by the Japanese government, the sources said.
Meanwhile, National Legislative Assembly whip Somchai Sawangkarn has quoted a diplomatic source in Japan as saying Yingluck had been trying to meet Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The source also reportedly told Somchai that Yingluck had also been seeking to meet old business and political connections in Japan. “She also plans to visit Hong Kong to muster support for her movement. She will call a press conference in late February or early March,” Somchai said. His source said she will be received by her supporters in Hong Kong.
Yingluck and her brother travelled to Tokyo after being seen together in Beijing – a photo of them in the Chinese capital was circulated on social media this week.
Somchai quoted his source as saying Yingluck’s arrival in Japan had made authorities there “uncomfortable”, but she might have received a tourist visa and used either a Cambodian or Montenegrin passport.