PRIME MINISTER General Prayut Chan-o-cha admitted yesterday that misunderstandings overseas could be a factor in the Thai government’s unsuccessful requests to have the two Shinawatra ex-premiers extradited to Thailand from their self-imposed exiles.
“They [foreign countries] may view this as being political, which is a problem. People have assumed that these kinds of things are all political while, in fact, they are violations of laws,” Prayut said at his weekly press briefing.
His remarks were a clear reference to Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck, who have both received prison sentences in Thailand and lived overseas to avoid serving their time behind bars.
Thaksin, who has faced several completed and ongoing cases, fled the Kingdom in 2008 while his sister vanished last August, before she was convicted in a case stemming from her government’s rice-pledging scheme.
Thaksin has since made occasional online comments while Yingluck has kept quiet, with only a few photos of her in London emerging last month.
The first photo of the two together since Yingluck fled emerged on Saturday, showing them out shopping in Beijing.
The junta government has revoked their passports – Thaksin’s in 2015 and Yingluck’s last year – so they have been using undisclosed travel documents.
Prayut also spoke to diplomats at Government House on Monday, when he asked for foreign countries’ cooperation when dealing with “Thai wrongdoers living overseas”.
On the same day he also said to not discuss the matter with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who met with him in Bangkok.
Yesterday, he said the matter was already in the hands of agencies responsible for coordinating such matters between countries.
“However, it will ultimately depend on each country’s decision. Foreign countries cooperated by informing us of where they were, but when we asked them about extradition, they were silent,” Prayut said, while not specifically naming the countries he was referring to.