Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Photo: Laowilas/NurPhoto
Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Photo: Laowilas/NurPhoto

Two fugitive former Thai prime ministers, Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, have extended a surprise tour through Asia, and were reported on Tuesday to be heading to Hong Kong after stops through mainland China and Japan.

The siblings are both wanted by Thai authorities for convictions related to activities during their time in office (Thaksin in the early to mid-2000s, Yingluck in the early 2010s) and have been living in exile abroad.

The Associated Press reported that the pair were making their way to Hong Kong on Tuesday, after having stayed in Japan since Saturday.

Photos of the two in mainland China surfaced before reports of the trip to Japan, prompting the police team responsible for tracking Yingluck’s whereabouts to seek cooperation from Chinese authorities, according to Thai media reports.

Thai law-enforcement agencies have reportedly been trying to confirm Yingluck’s whereabouts since she fled the country in August, seeking help from Interpol, to little avail.

Thailand’s current prime minister and ruling junta chief, Prayut Chan-o-cha, said the failure to extradite the fugitive duo as they trot across the region was due to misunderstanding overseas.

Foreign countries “may view this as being political, which is a problem. People have assumed that these kinds of things are all political while, in fact, they are violations of laws,” Prayut was quoted by The Nation as saying at his weekly press briefing.

“However, it will ultimately depend on each country’s decision. Foreign countries cooperated by informing us of where they were, but when we asked them about extradition, they were silent,” Prayut said, while not specifically naming the countries he was referring to.

Thaksin’s youngest daughter, Paetongtarn, posted two photos of her father on her Instagram not long after the earlier photos of the fugitives in China were posted to Thai social media.

“My dad wishes all Thais a happy Chinese New Year from Beijing in advance. Although we are far away from each other, I always miss you, don’t you know?” Paetongtarn wrote on her Instagram account, @ingshin21, as translated by the Straits Times.