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Thailand's deputy PM says unclear if Yingluck has fled country

25 August 2017

Yingluck's lawyers told the court she did not show up because she was sick.

The court also confiscated the 30 million Baht (RM3.75 million) bail she posted at the start of her trial.

An appeal would help her buy more time for freedom and the court might eventually uphold the verdict or reduce the penalty. Yingluck's supporters believe the case is politically motivated.

"Her lawyer said she is sick and asked to delay the ruling. the court does not believe she is sick. and has chose to issue an arrest warrant", fearing she may flee the country, lead judge Cheep Chulamon told the court, rescheduling the verdict to September 27.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters it was possible that Yingluck had left Thailand.

Yingluck's lawyers said they do not know if she is still in Thailand. But this could not be confirmed.

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"Yingluck has many homes and many cars".

The sister of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck was ousted by a coup in 2014 and was later impeached by Thailand's military-appointed National Legislative Assembly.

By appealing a guilty verdict, Yingluck would run the risk of being sent to jail and foregoing her suspended sentence, although there is also the possibility the court would dismiss the case against her.

Hundreds of supporters, many from other parts of the country such as Lampang and Kampaeng Phet, turned up on Friday morning by the courthouse just outside Bangkok, but were kept at a distance by extensive barricades and hordes of policemen.

The crowds came despite a plea from Yingluck on Facebook to stay away from court due to security concerns.

The junta clamped down on political activity, after seizing power three years ago, following a period of unrest, pledging to restore stability.

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Shinawatra's Puea Thai Party has said it does not support acts of violence.

Yingluck defied expectations by remaining in Thailand after the coup.

If convicted for negligence over a flagship rice subsidy policy, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a life ban from politics.

Some legal experts have said an acquittal would not mean the Administrative Court would necessarily grant Yingluck's request, as judges would still need to look into the details of her innocence or whether there was an intention to cause damage.

Shinawatra has been tried for criminal negligence and mismanaging a rice subsidy scheme that prosecutors say cost Thailand billions of dollars. "She won't give up easily".

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Thailand's deputy PM says unclear if Yingluck has fled country