Reports have it that Thailand’s former prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, has fled the country after failing to appear in court to hear the verdict of a trial that could see her jailed for 10 years.
Sources in her party say she made the decision to leave unexpectedly, shortly before she was due to appear at the Supreme Court on negligence charges.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who heads Thailand’s military government, said all routes out of the country were being closely monitored.
“I just learned that she did not show up” he told reporters. “I have ordered border checkpoints to be stepped up.”
Sources however say Ms Yingluck fled to Singapore.
Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan initially said he had no information on Ms Yingluck’s whereabouts but as he left a meeting in Bangkok he said: “It is possible that she has fled already.”
Her lawyers told the court she had been unable to attend because she was ill.
But the court said in a statement it did not believe she was sick as there was no medical certificate and that the claimed sickness was not severe enough to prevent her travelling to court.
“Such behaviour convincingly shows that she is a flight risk. As a result, the court has issued an arrest warrant and confiscated the posted bail money,” the statement said.
Ms Yingluck posted $900,000 (£703,000) bail at the beginning of her trial.
Judges also postponed the verdict until September 27.
Ms Yingluck has denied any wrongdoing in the scheme which cost Thailand billions of dollars. If found guilty at the end of her two-year trial, she could be jailed for up to 10 years and permanently banned from politics.