Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (Photo: EPA/VNA)
 
 
Hanoi (VNA) – Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has attended the last hearing of a court case over a rice-pledging scheme under her administration.

The ex-PM arrived at the Thai Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions in Bangkok on July 21. Hundreds of police were deployed to the court compound in an effort to tighten security. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha warned her supporters not to create trouble during the hearing.

Under Thailand’s court procedures, both the defendant and the plaintiff are allowed to deliver verbal statements within 30 days after the final hearing. The court will take up to 14 days to issue its ruling.

If found guilty, Yingluck will face up to 10 years in prison and a seizure of assets worth 35 billion THB for the scheme’s losses.

The rice scheme was a flagship election policy that helped sweep Yingluck to office in a landslide in 2011.

The rice-buying scheme introduced by PM Yingluck Shinawatra in 2011 paid farmers above market price for their rice, making it uncompetitive in the world market. 

The government has found it difficult to sell the rice and the programme has run into funding problems, leaving many farmers waiting months for payment. 

In January 2015, the National Legislative Assembly charged Yingluck of negligence over her management of the rice programme and banned her from politics for five years.-VNA