Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has fled abroad, sources say, ahead of a verdict in her trial over a rice subsidy scheme.

Sources in her party say she made the decision to leave unexpectedly, shortly before she was due to appear at the Supreme Court on negligence charges.

According to BBC News, her lawyers told the court she had been unable to attend because she was ill. But when she failed to appear, the court issued an arrest warrant for her and confiscated her bail.

Judges also postponed the verdict until September 27.

Ms Yingluck has denied any wrongdoing in the scheme which cost Thailand billions of dollars. If found guilty at the end of her two-year trial, she could be jailed for up to 10 years and permanently banned from politics.

The Prime Minister said all routes out of the country were being closely monitored.

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