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Thai immigration police chief says no information Yingluck has fled country

Thai immigration police chief says no information Yingluck has fled countryā€¯

A Thai court has issued an arrest warrant for former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra after she failed to appear in court to hear the verdict in her long-running trial on negligence charges.

The Supreme Court postponed the reading of the verdict for the criminal case against Yingluck until September 27 after her lawyer said the former leader was suffering from Meniere's disease and feeling dizzy and thus was unable to attend.

Ms Yingluck, who became Thailand's first female prime minister in 2011, is accused of criminal negligence after overseeing a scheme that subsidised rice farmers, with growers paid twice the market rate for their crop.

Yingluck, who graduated in political science before earning a master s degree in business administration in the United States, spent much of her career working in her brother s empire.

"The Thai prime minister has done her best, she has sacrificed a lot", said Seksan Chalitaporn, 64.

Propelled to power in July 2011 by her family s electoral base in the poor north and northeast, Yingluck was pilloried by foes as a political lightweight armed with little more than a winning smile and a hotline to her elder brother Thaksin Shinawatra - who once referred to her as his "clone". "(The verdict delay) provides a window for potential flight.if she has not fled already", he said.

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Yingluck and her aides previously told the media she would not flee.

She has pleaded innocent and rejected the charges as politically motivated. Her diehard fans were willing to defy the junta by rallying to show their support for her on Friday.

"I want those who wish to support me to listen to the news from home, to avoid risking any unexpected problems that could arise from those who have ill-intentions toward the country and all of us", she wrote, without naming anyone.

Another woman has been shouting: "She will definitely come".

He added: "If she's not guilty she should stay and fight the case".

Historically the Shinawatras have been able to mobilise huge crowds of supporters - known as the "red-shirt movement" - to take to the streets when the family's political fortunes have waned.

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There were reports she left through Koh Chang, but they had not been verified, Gen Prawit said. Given Ms Yingluck's popularity and the ongoing mourning period for the deceased king, it was deemed unlikely that the court would issue a guilty verdict, one expert following the case said.

Thousands of supporters had massed outside the country's Supreme Court on Friday morning to witness the outcome of the trial.

Yingluck has been barred from leaving the country without court approval since 2015, when her trial started. Yingluck's supporters were reportedly moved on throughout the week as they tried to set up a camp outside the court.

Thaksin has not returned to Thailand since.

In another development on Friday, former Thai minister Boonsong Teriyapirom was jailed for 42 years in connection with the rice subsidy scheme.

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