Thaksin Shinawatra’s private plane travelled to Cambodia twice after the convicted former prime minister skipped bail, according to information leaked from the Royal Thai Air Force.
A source said RTAF chief Itthaporn Subhawong ordered the air force’s radar centre to monitor movements along the Cambodia border.
The centre confirmed that Thaksin’s private jet was seen flying to Cambodia on two occasions.
The jet landed in Phnom Penh and Koh Kong, the source said.
Defence Minister Tea Banh, in an exclusive interview with Bangkok Post military reporter Wassana Nanuam, denied any contact between Cambodia and Thaksin. “I have never seen Thaksin come here to Cambodia,” he told the reporter. “Why should he have to come here? What’s the use of coming here? We cannot do anything to help him now. He might want to go somewhere else, but not Cambodia.”
Thaksin is currently in exile abroad after leaving the country while on bail awaiting trial on charges of abuse of power over the Ratchadaphisek land deal during his term in office. He was sentenced in absentia to two years in jail.
Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh yesterday said Cambodia had not issued Thaksin with a passport.
Speaking at the 6th meeting of the Thai-Cambodia General Border Committee (GBC) in Siem Reap, Gen Tea Banh said Thaksin had not sought refuge or gone into hiding in Cambodia. He was at one stage rumoured to be in Phnom Penh and Koh Kong, from where he conducted his phone-in addresses to red shirt supporters in Thailand.
Prime Minister Hun Sen was unhappy about the rumours, said Gen Tea Banh, who condemned the hearsay for causing mistrust between the two countries.
He said the Cambodian government had investigated rumours of Thaksin being in Cambodia and found them to be groundless.
“Why should Mr Thaksin have to come here to Cambodia? He will not get anything here and we can’t help him any longer,” the minister said.
Gen Tea Banh said Cambodia did not want to get involved in Thai politics. It just wanted Thailand to restore peace and reconciliation so the two countries could work together to solve their border dispute.
Bangkok Post, Publish 30/04/ 2009
Cambodian Defence Minister: Thaksin Not in Cambodia
The Cambodian Defence Minister denied rumors that former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra had snuck into Cambodia.
Cambodian Defence Minister, Tea Banh, denied rumors that Thaksin Shinawatra snuck into Cambodia after fleeing Thailand and was in self-imposed exile overseas. He also denied giving Thaksin passport.
He said that news that Thaksin flew to Phnom Penh and stayed at the residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen was just a rumour. He stated that the Cambodian government does not want to meddle in Thai politics, and that they want to work with Thai government to solve the border disputes.
Cambodia ‘not sheltering Thaksin’
Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh has reportedly dismissed allegations that Thaksin Shinawatra had entered Cambodia and that he had been given a Cambodian passport.
Tea Banh insisted that Thaksin had never set foot in Cambodia as reported by the media, adding that it was not in his government’s interest to back the fugitive leader.
A number of media outlets have quoted unnamed sources as saying that Thaksin has been holding secret meetings with his supporters in the Cambodian island of Koh Kong.
When asked whether the tension between Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen still existed, Tea Banh replied: “What’s done is done. There is nothing to worry about.”
Kasit called Hun Sen a “thug” during an anti-Thaksin demonstration last year after the Cambodian leader gave Thailand an ultimatum to pull troops out of the disputed border territory.
In a separate report, public prosecutors yesterday postponed their meeting Jakrapob Penkair to June 15 before they make a decision whether to indict him for lese majeste.
Jakrapob, formerly a prime minister’s Office minister and until recently a leader of the red-shirt movement, asked for the postponement saying he had some business to attend to overseas.
The prosecutors decided to grant him the request because further investigation and questioning of witnesses, as well as translation of relevant documents, had not been completed, according to Kayasit Pisawongprakan, director-general of the criminal litigation division at the Attorney-General’s Office.
The case against Jakrapob is in connection to a lecture he delivered, in English, at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in August 2007.
If Jakrapob fails to report to the prosecutors on June 15, his guarantors would be asked to find him or an arrest warrant would be issued for him, Kayasit told a press conference at the Attorney-General’s Office.
By The Nation
Published on April 30, 2009