Supporters present flowers to Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra upon her arrival at the Thai Supreme Court in Bangkok, Thailand, July 21, 2017. (File photo: Xinhua/Li Mangmang)
Bangkok (People’s Daily) - Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha confirmed Tuesday that the government is seeking the extradition of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra from the United Kingdom, who fled Thailand in 2017 before she could serve a five-year prison sentence for negligence.
"We can't arrest wanted criminals in foreign countries, so we must hope that other countries will,” Prayuth said.
Prayuth said that the Thai police, the attorney-general, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are duty-bound to seek extradition. He also said the success of the extradition request depends on the UK government.
In January, Thailand Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai confirmed to reporters that Yingluck had been in London since September of 2017.
However, on Tuesday, Prayuth did not make a clear statement on whether Yingluck is certain to still be in the UK. On Saturday, Yingluck was seen in an Instagram video, where she claimed to be living in Covent Garden in London's West End.
The Thai Embassy in London submitted a request to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the government of the UK for her extradition.
In 2017, Yingluck fled Thailand before she could serve a five-year jail term handed down by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Persons Holding Political Positions. She was charged in connection with her government’s rice-pledging scheme, according to the BBC Thai-language website on Tuesday.
The BBC website stated that the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office declined to comment on the matter and forwarded it to the Ministry of the Interior. The Home Office of the UK responded by saying that it does not confirm or deny whether it has received a request for extradition of someone unless the person has been arrested.
Yingluck and her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, who is also a former prime minister of Thailand, were ousted in military coups in 2014 and 2006 respectively, during their terms as prime minister. The two are still in exile overseas.