A Kuwait Airways plane has left Bangkok's International Airport without a runaway Saudi woman who says she is fleeing her family and seeking asylum in Australia.
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, 18, remains barricaded inside a room at a transit hotel at Suvarnabhumi Airport to prevent authorities removing her and deporting her to Kuwait, where she started her journey.
She barricaded herself in an airport hotel in the Thai capital on Monday and was sending out desperate pleas for help over social media.
Alqunun began posting on Twitter late Saturday after her passport was taken away when she arrived in Bangkok on a flight from Kuwait. She has been appealing for aid from the United Nations refugee agency and anyone else who can help.
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, issued a statement saying it was following the case and "trying to seek access from the Thai authorities" to meet with Alqunun to assess her need for international protection.
On Twitter, where Alqunun has accumulated tens of thousands of followers in about a day-and-a-half, she wrote of being in "real danger" if forced to return to her family under pressure from Saudi authorities, and has claimed in media interviews that she could be killed.
Alqunun told Human Rights Watch she was fleeing abuse from her family, including beatings and death threats from her male relatives who forced her to remain in her room for six months for cutting her hair.
For runaway Saudi women - to whom Saudi law grants male relatives legal guardianship even if they are adults — fleeing can be a matter of life and death, and they are almost always doing so to escape male relatives.
Alqunun appeared to have scored a small victory on Monday when the flight on which she said she would be sent to Kuwait departed without her. And shortly after noon Monday, the Germany's ambassador to Thailand, Georg Schmidt, posted a message of concern on his verified Twitter account about her case, which he said he was conveying to Thai authorities.
The Associated Press reached Alqunun by telephone Sunday night in her hotel room and she spoke briefly, saying that she was tricked into giving up her passport on her arrival in Bangkok.
She has identified the man who took her passport variously as a Kuwait Airways employee or a Saudi Embassy official. She said Saudi and Thai officials then told her she would be returned to Kuwait on Monday, where her father and brother are awaiting her.
Saudi Arabia's charge d'affaires in Bangkok Abdullah al-Shuaibi denied Saudi authorities were involved in any way.
Thai officials were not immediately available Monday for comment.