Thai prime minister apologises

BANGKOK, Jan 5 – On Tuesday, Yingluck said on Facebook that she had been followed by undercover officers while she was on vacation with her family in the popular resort town of Pai in Mae Hong Son.

She said they followed her closely and checked shops and venues she visited, in actions that seemed unrelated to legitimate security measures.

Yingluck is currently fighting accusations that she failed to prevent corruption in her government’s rice-mortgage scheme, which accrued losses to the state initially estimated at Bt500 billion (S$20.1 Billion).

The government is demanding that Yingluck and members of her government personally pay compensation for the losses.

Prayut said yesterday he apologised if officers had intruded on her privacy by taking photos of her, adding that he had since given orders for them to stop the surveillance.

Prayut said the government needed to take care of Yingluck because the government would be blamed if something bad happened to her.

“Please don’t cry foul [for being disturbed],” Prayut said.

Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan said uniform and plainclothes officers had been ordered to follow Yingluck everywhere to safeguard her.

He said the surveillance was put in place because the government would be in trouble if anything happened to the former prime minister.

“We don’t know whether there is an ill-willed third party out there. We are not keeping an eye on her as feared,” said Prawit.

Government Spokesperson Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the Prawit had told the Cabinet that the surveillance was put in place with good intentions to provide security for the former prime minister.

However, officers may not be “in a good disguise and thus has caused her discomfort”, Sansern said.

Yingluck cut short her holiday and returned to Chiang Mai yesterday, a day ahead of schedule.

Former members of the Pheu Thai Party yesterday rebuked the government for the surveillance, saying it should review its methods of monitoring Yingluck.

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