Former Thai PM on the run, THB 30mln bail bond seized

Judges to decide ex-PM Yingluck's fate tomorrow

Ms Yingluck and Thaksin Shinawatra, her older brother and former prime minister, have remained popular with the country's rural poor but have been accused by urban Thais of buying provincial votes with the rice subsidies.

Some Thai media earlier reported that a auto believed to carry Yingluck was seen at the court as her followers were chanting her name to the vehicle and thus assumed she was there, but she did not show up as expected.

A supporter of Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra waves outside the Supreme Court ahead the delivery of a verdict on charges accusing Yingluck Shinawatra of negligence in implementing a rice subsidy in Bangkok Thailand, Friday, Aug 25, 2017.

It seems like déjà vu.

The case against Yingluck is the latest in a decade-long offensive against the political machine founded and directed by her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup for alleged corruption and disrespect for the monarchy. A planned string of aggressive prosecutions against Yingluck was clearly created to terminate her political career once and for all.

Court officials also said they believe Yingluck is intending to flee the country, which requires a warrant to be issued, a reporter at the court said.

Ms. Yingluck became prime minister in 2011.

Norrawit Larlaeng, Yingluck's lawyer, confirmed a warrant had been issued, but said he had no details on her whereabouts.

Yingluck and her supporters believe the case is a politically motivated attack led by junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

Yingluck, 50, has not been seen since Friday morning's scene began at the Supreme Court in northern Bangkok.

A spokeswoman for Yingluck declined to comment.

May 2011- Yingluck Shinawatra is elected PM, and shortly afterwards begins rolling out her rice subsidy scheme.

The scheme left Thailand with inflated rice prices, just as rival growers like India and Vietnam were boosting production and lowering prices.

Ignoring her plea, thousands of peaceful protesters showed up outside the court holding roses and wearing white gloves with the word "love" on them. At best, the policy was ham fisted in design and implementation; at worst, it was another incarnation of political system plagued by pork barrelling and corruption.

"With two family members as fugitives, the family loses political legitimacy", she said, adding that Ms Yingluck's departure would be welcomed by a Thai junta tired of the prospect of her political martyrdom in jail.

Ms Yingluck has denied any wrongdoing in the scheme which cost Thailand billions of dollars. If any protests are to take place in the wake of today's happenings, the UDD will be a central driver. Forced out of office by a military coup in May of 2014, she was formally impeached in January of 2015.

Gen Prawit said he did not know if Ms Yingluck's presumed escape had been planned in advance.

For the cynics, any unrest will be used by the military as justification for further repression and postponement of elections.

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