Aussie fugitive escapes most-wanted list after 24 years
An Australian fugitive - once dubbed the "most wanted woman in the world" - is no longer on Interpol's radar.
Lisa Marie Smith, 44, who fled drug smuggling charges in Thailand that carried a potential death sentence 24 years ago, has been living on struggle street in Dublin since the collapse of her cafe in Temple Bar under a mountain of debt.
A News Corp investigation can reveal that an Interpol Red Notice, which is used to alert authorities around the world to arrest a wanted criminal, has expired for Smith.
The notice, which was issued after she fled Bangkok in 1996, was no longer on Interpol's website.
A search of police and immigrations records conducted this week by people in the Thailand
bureaucracy revealed that there were no outstanding warrants for Smith's arrest.
"According to Thai law the arrest warrant depends on the seriousness of the charge but could not stand for more than 20 years, the maximum time that Smith's is understood to have lasted," a source in Thailand said.
Interpol in France said last week to contact Thai authorities when asked about Smith.
However, with no outstanding warrants, Thailand is unlikely to seek extradition.
The Melbourne-born woman fled to Ireland, which had no extradition treaty with Thailand, after she was caught with 4kg of hashish and 565 amphetamine tablets while trying to board a flight at Bangkok Airport to Tokyo.
Smith spent five months in the notorious "Bangkok Hilton" jail before her father Terry Smith, a former National Mutual Asia executive, paid $74,000 bail for her release.
She fled to Greece and then made her way to Ireland where she lived anonymously until 2014 when The Herald Sun tracked her down.
Smith's millionaire parents Robyn and Terence live in a beachfront apartment in Melbourne. Mr Smith declined to comment when approached last week.
Smith, a dual British national who attended Eastleigh College near Southampton in the UK, was issued with a new Australian and British passport in 1996 - after she was released on bail in Thailand.
Those passports would have expired after 10 years, but it was possible that she could re-apply however, any plans to return to Australia would be curtailed by the current coronavirus travel bans.
The office of Attorney-General Christian Porter, when asked about Smith's case, said Thailand would have to request an extradition for them to take action."Australia is able to receive extradition requests from Thailand," a statement said.
"Extradition requests are considered in accordance with relevant Australian law and on a case-by-case basis."
A spokesman for Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs would not comment on Smith's specific case.
It was understood that the Foreign Affairs department took its advice from the Royal Thai Police and Interpol.
"In general if anyone is being black-listed the concerned agencies would forward the information of such person to the Ministry and the Ministry would put it into the internal database system," an official from Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Smith's case gained global attention when she was arrested in 1996 and again in 2014 when she was unmasked in Ireland.
She claimed when she was arrested that she met a Pakistani named Hassan in a Thai bar who had asked her to deliver a message to a friend in Tokyo.
She also blamed Hassan, who was never found, for swapping her backpacks before she went to the airport where she was picked up by waiting police who had been tipped off.
There were claims that the drug dealers dobbed her in to distract from another bigger drug shipment that was happening at the same time.
Mysterious wooden plaques were placed on trees in the Sydney suburb of Newtown, first reported in March 2011, that hinted Smith was travelling between Ireland and Australia.
"New Identity - McGuigan? Travels Eire 2 Australia as Though Invisible," the sign read.
Smith had been bouncing around Asia before she was arrested after allegedly meeting Hassan on Bangkok's Khao San Road tourist hotspot.
She had previously worked in the Joe Bananas bar in Hong Kong's Wan Chai district, which was still open this month, before she was sacked for smoking marijuana.
DFAT said this week: "The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has no record of providing consular assistance to this individual."
The Australian Federal Police declined to comment.
Originally published as Aussie fugitive escapes most-wanted list after 24 years