Democrat Party spokesman Theptai Senapong said yesterday he believed ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra was hiding in Cambodia.
He urged the Cambodian government to reveal his whereabouts and to clearly state what it would do if Thaksin were found there.
Theptai, who is also Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva’s personal spokesman, quoted “reliable sources” as saying that Thaksin was believed to be living near Cambodian Premier Hun Sen’s house and that the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh was trying to verify that report.
He said the government was ready for an extradition request and that the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh was making an approach on the matter.
Theptai said the Lao government had stated that it would extradite Thaksin if he was found in the country and would not allow him to use it as a political tool.
Theptai denied that Cambodia’s failure to make a statement on the matter might be related to a recent verbal slip by Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya allegedly calling Hun Sen, “a gangster”. He said that matter was over. Government spokesman Panitan Watanayagorn yesterday declined to confirm Theptai’s claim, saying that authorities were trying to verify the report. He added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would hold a press conference in a few days on the matter.
Army chief General Anupong Paochinda said yesterday that officials were investigating the accuracy of the report that Thaksin had been spotted in Cambodia. Politicians close to Thaksin yesterday dismissed as groundless the report that he was now in the neighbouring country.
“Thaksin is now thousands of kilometres away from Thailand. He is in a time zone with a three-hour difference from ours. He is definitely not in Cambodia,” said Jatuporn Promphan, who is also a leader of the red-shirt movement.
Noppadon Pattama said he was sure Thaksin was not in any neighbouring country at the moment although he did not know exactly where he was.
By THE NATION ON SUNDAY
Published on April 5, 2009
Thepthai: Thaksin sighted in Cambodia
Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has allegedly been sighted in Cambodia, says Abhisit Vejjajiva’s personal spokesman Thepthai Senpong. Thaksin was allegedly spotted near the residence of Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen.
Mr Thepthai said if this was true, the Cambodian government should clarify the matter with Thailand, similar to Lao PDR’s manner when it made clear Thaksin was banned from entering its territory. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was inspecting this issue.
Bangkok Post, April 4, 2009
Thailand not happy some countries allow Thaksin to stay
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said Monday he felt “uncomfortable” that some countries have allowed fugitive ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra to use them as springboard in attacking Thailand.
Referring to news reports that Thaksin is now taking shelter in Cambodia, Kasit said his ministry was checking the accuracy of the reports.
“If the report is confirmed], it meant Cambodia loved Thaksin very much. Therefore, the case would surely affect the bilateral relationship,” Kasit said.
Kasit has invited Bangkok-based envoys to a briefing on Wednesday concerning Thai legal procedures concerning extradition and arrests of fugitives.
Thai envoys based in countries which do not have an extradition treaty with Thailand — such as Dubai, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates — have explained to those governments how Thaksin has created a political crisis in this country, he said.
A number of countries had already complied with the Thai government’s request and did not allow Thaksin, who was convicted of corruption and abuse of power and sentenced to two years in jail, to shelter in their countries.
Thaksin has criticised privy councillors particularly its president Gen Prem Tinsulanond in his daily phone-ins. The location was unknown.
Nation, April 6, 2009