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Saudi woman has left Bangkok airport 'under care of' UN agency -Thai official

An 18-year-old Saudi woman seeking asylum has left Bangkok airport "under the care" of the UN refugee agency, according to a Thai official.

A video screengrab shows Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun.

BANGKOK - An 18-year-old Saudi woman seeking asylum has left Bangkok airport "under the care" of the UN refugee agency, a Thai official said Monday, following her desperate plea against deportation.

"She is allowed to stay... she is under the care of the UNHCR now," said immigration chief Surachate Hakparn. "She left the airport with the UNHCR."

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun told AFP she ran away from her family while travelling in Kuwait because they subjected her to physical and psychological abuse.

The 18-year-old said she had planned to seek asylum in Australia and feared she would be killed if repatriated by Thai immigration officials who stopped her during transit on Sunday.

The incident comes as Saudi Arabia faces intense scrutiny over the shocking murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, which has renewed criticism of the kingdom's rights record.