Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa left Singapore Thursday, the city-state’s immigration office said, after his social visit pass expired, IgbereTV reports
“The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) confirms that Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa left Singapore on 11 August 2022,” the office said in reply to an AFP query.
It did not say where the former leader was headed to but the Thai foreign ministry, as well as a source in Colombo, said Wednesday he was seeking a new safe haven in Thailand.
Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives on July 13 and then to Singapore, where he announced his resignation after months of protests over Sri Lanka’s economic meltdown.
Tens of thousands of people overran his official residence last month over acute shortages of food, fuel and medicine endured by Sri Lanka’s 22 million people since late last year.
“His Singapore visa runs out on Thursday,” a close associate of Rajapaksa told AFP in Colombo.
“He had applied for an extension, but it had not come through as of Wednesday morning.”
The source said Rajapaksa now planned to go to Thailand for a short stay and return to Singapore.
The Thai foreign ministry confirmed it had received a request from Colombo for the 73-year-old deposed leader to visit Thailand and an assurance that he would not seek political asylum there.
“The Thai side received a request for the former president to enter Thailand from the current government of Sri Lanka,” ministry spokesman Tanee Sangrat said in a statement