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Thailand's junta could benefit from former PM's escape

Although an apparent embarrassment, Yingluck's flight eases pressure on generals

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks during a news conference after his meeting with National Security Council as Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan looks on at Government House in Bangkok on August 15, 2016.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- "You can easily walk across [the Thai border]," said a Thai political exile who is living in a European capital. Thailand's porous border with Cambodia became a popular escape route for opponents of the military junta after the 2014 coup. It appears that former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whose elected government was ousted in that putsch, has now become the most prominent Thai politician to have taken that route.

It was a stunning exit from the political stage for the country's first female leader. She failed to show up on Aug. 25 at the Supreme Court in Bangkok to hear the verdict in a politically charged case where she was on trial for administrative negligence. But in skipping her judgment day, she has left some unanswered questions -- for example, what exactly were the circumstances of her departure from Thailand?

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