Northeastern police were told to monitor social media in the province ahead of an expected judgement on ex pm Yingluck Shinawatra today.
But Yingluck, 50, whose family dominated Thai politics for more than 15 years, failed to show up at court for judgment in a case centered on the multi-billion dollar losses incurred by a rice subsidy scheme for farmers.
The Provincial Police in charge of 12 upper northeastern provinces instructed officers to follow the news regarding the judgement today, including social media, from 8am to 4pm.
However, Reuters is reporting that Yingluck Shinawatra has fled the country. Supporters and Thai Government sources having confirmed this.
“It is possible that she has fled already,” Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters.
Officials were told to set up 40 checkpoints in the area. The region’s deputy commander Pol Maj-General Chitcharoon Sriwanich said police had been closely monitoring the situation and movement of activists and red-shirt supporters since Monday.
Khon Kaen is one area of focus where five checkpoints had been set up along the route to Bangkok. Bus terminals and airports had been under a 24-hour watch, but no disturbances had been detected, Chitcharoon said.
Some supporters from the upper northeastern provinces were travelling to the court but not in big groups, he said, adding that none of them were being led by local leaders, who had assured police that they were not attempting to mobilise supporters.
In the end no trial will take place and it looks like Ms Shinawatra has fled abroad. She was facing a 10 year sentence and her lawyer was seeking to delay the trial saying his client had a ear problem. The supreme court issued an arrest warrant when the heard this but have not located her.
Ms Shinawatra’s spokeswoman declined to comment.