* Published: 14/11/2009 at 01:47 PM
* Online news: BreakingnewsThe Thai government had never sent a spy to seek information on flight schedule of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as accused of by Cambodia, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said on Saturday.
Mr Suthep was responding to an accusation by Jatuporn Promphan, a core leader of the pro-Thaksin United front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), that the government was behind the information spying.
“The flight schedule of Thaksin was not a secret as the government knew that he was flying by his personal jet from India to Cambodia on Tuesday morninhg ”, Mr Suthep said.
Cambodian police on Thursday arrested Siwarak Chotepong, an engineer at Samart Coorporation’s sudsiodiary in Cambodia on charge of spying.
Mr Suthep insisted that Mr Siwartak’s arrest will not escalate the diplomatic dispute and lead to a border closure as some fear.
News » Local News
Abhisit won’t cut troops
Khmer pullout from temple ‘a tactical ploy’
* Published: 14/11/2009 at 12:00 AM
* Newspaper section: News
Thailand will not dance to Cambodia’s tune by withdrawing troops from the disputed Preah Vihear temple area, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says.
Mr Abhisit said yesterday more pressure would be put on Cambodia next week.
Cambodia’s removal of troops from the area was just a tactical ploy, he said. Phnom Penh wanted to give the appearance there were no problems relating to its plans to develop the ancient Hindu temple as a World Heritage site.
“It is their plan and we are not going in that direction,” Mr Abhisit said, after a meeting with Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the withdrawal of the 911 special forces unit from its post at the temple. The pullout ceremony was held in Siem Reap yesterday where Hun Sen and fomer Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra met with 60 Puea Thai Party MPs and other Thaksin supporters.
The troop withdrawal came amid increasing tensions between the two neighbours which have escalated since Hun Sen appointed Thaksin as an economic adviser to his government and also his personal adviser. The ensuing diplomatic spat worsened on Thursday when Cambodia expelled a senior Thai envoy, which caused Mr Kasit to cut short his visit to Singapore.
Mr Abhisit said the government was reviewing projects with Cambodia and some of them might be put forward to the cabinet for consideration next week.
He said the government was not distracted by the diplomatic spat with Cambodia and its diplomatic response was in line with proper procedure.
“There is nothing special about this because we have more important things to do,” he said.
Mr Abhisit said the government would take appropriate diplomatic measures against Cambodia.
“We will not take action in haste. The steps we are to take must guarantee results,” he said.
The government is reviewing a 1.4 billion baht soft loan for a road project linking Surin province to Siem Reap.
He said Cambodia’s actions were intentionally provocative.
“Partly this is because they [Hun Sen and Thaksin] need each other,” he said.
Mr Abhisit said the Thai-Cambodian rift was not serious enough to close the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.
Mr Abhisit scoffed at Thaksin’s remarks that the government was promoting a false sense of patriotism.
“We have not. The sentiment is stirred by Thaksin’s actions which are found unacceptable and against the nation’s interests,” he said.
Thaksin told Puea Thai MPs who visited him in Siem Reap last night the withdrawal of Cambodian troops was down to his friendship with Hun Sen.
Hun Sen told the MPs that he was devastated by Thaksin’s fate.
“He is a great asset to Thailand but he has no place to stay. He doesn’t even have a passport from his own country,” he was quoted as saying.
Hun Sen also said “Cambodia would not interfere in Thailand’s internal affairs and the appointment of Thaksin would foster ‘unprecedented’ relationship between the two countries.”
Relations between Thai and Cambodian soldiers deployed in the disputed area seem to have remained undisturbed by the diplomatic flare-up.
Sgt Maj 1st Class Jongrak Taenhom, who is among 10 Thai soldiers deployed near Wat Kaew Sikha Khiri, said there was no tension between Thai and Cambodian soldiers.
“We eat together. We talk. There is no strain or tension. And now they have pulled out, so there is nothing to be tense about,” he said.
No overflight for Thaksin’s jet, Thai on spy charge
* Published: 14/11/2009 at 12:00 AM
* Newspaper section: News
Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s private jet was denied a permit to fly over Thailand en route to Cambodia, where he arrived on Tuesday, according to a source.
The request was filed with the Department of Civil Aviation under the Transport Ministry two weeks ago and passed on to the air force.
“The air force received a report from the department and rejected the request,” said the source.
Thaksin’s plane was forced to take another flight path.
The comment came after Cambodian authorities accused Thailand of spying.
A Thai engineer at Cambodia Air Traffic Services was arrested by Cambodian police on charges of spying.
Cambodia, meanwhile, accused the Thai air force of violating Cambodia’s airspace.
Siwarak Chotphong was accused of stealing flight information on Thaksin’s journey from Cambodia, and supplying it to the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.
Cambodia’s national police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said Mr Siwarak was charged with releasing information related to Cambodia’s national security.
“He tried to search for information related to Thaksin’s flight so he could send it out of the country,” he said.
Police were investigating whether more people were involved.
Cambodian deputy national police chief Sok Phal said the spy allegations prompted Phnom Penh to expel the Thai embassy’s first secretary Kamrob Palawatwicha on Thursday.
“The first secretary ordered the man to copy the schedule of Thaksin’s return flight, and that’s why he was expelled,” Sok Phal said.
The Foreign Ministry and the air force denied the charges.
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said the arrest was an act of intimidation and Thaksin had caused a lot of trouble for the two countries.
“The spying claim is malicious and false.
“Thaksin feels he must destroy Thailand and collaborate with Hun Sen,” Mr Kasit said.
He had told the Thai embassy to Cambodia to look after Mr Siwarak, who had been detained and questioned by Cambodian authorities.
Mr Kasit said there are now seven staff members left working at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh. The Cambodian government is obligated to ensure their safety.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the government would take care of Mr Siwarak in the same way it treated all Thais facing legal charges abroad.
Air force spokesman Gp Capt Monthon Satchukorn said the air force had always strictly complied with aviation regulations and never intruded in Cambodia’s airspace.
“And in the current situation we are taking extra precautions to avoid provocation,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday met army chief Anupong Paojinda and deputy army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha.
Gen Anupong also called a meeting with 2nd Army commander Lt Gen Vivalit Chornsamrit and senior officers to discuss the government’s stand towards Cambodia.
Security boosted at Aranyaprathet checkpoints
By The Nation
Published on November 14, 2009
Security boosted at Aranyaprathet checkpoints
A total of 206 Cambodians, Laotians, Vietnamese and Burmese people were arrested for illegally entering Thailand. Police have seriously been cracking down on illegal migrants ahead of festive seasons following reports that some aliens have pickpocketed fa
Stricter security measures are being imposed at the main border town in Sa Kaew following intelligence reports that Cambodian soldiers disguised as vendors had infiltrated into Thai soil on intelligencegathering operations.
Three companies of Thai paramilitary rangers were stationed at the Rong Klua market near the Baan Khlong Luek border checkpoint in Aranyaprathet district to maintain surveillance after reports that 80 Cambodian soldiers dressed as civilians had entered Thailand along with 8,000 Cambodian vendors yesterday.
Very few Thai people visited the market yesterday following growing tensions between the two countries while the regular number of Cambodian vendors entered Thailand, making the market full of vendors while short of Thai shoppers and visitors.
Longer queues of Cambodian vendors were seen because Thai security forces searched their luggage and bodies more thoroughly than usual. Thai immigration officials told the Cambodians that the searches had nothing to do with the growing tensions, but resulted directly from a routine but stricter antinarcotics policy by the Thai government.
Meanwhile, Labour Minister Phaitoon Kaeothong said the government was not planning to limit the number of legal Cambodian immigrant workers entering Thailand, despite growing calls from the public and certain media outlets. He said Thai employers and their productions or services relying on Cambodian workers, and subsequently Thai consumers, would otherwise be affected.
Labour and employment offices in Chanthaburi, Prachin Buri, Trat, Sa Kaew, Buri Ram and Si Sa Ket provinces bordering Cambodia have been instructed to closely look out for possible gatherings of Cambodian workers for whatever purposes. There are now 148,120 Cambodian workers registered for employment in Thailand.
In Bangkok, local police are stepping up their patrols and other operations, watching out for smalltime alien criminals and pickpockets who usually prey on victims in crowded events in Thailand during the festive months of November and December.
Caretaker police chief Patheep Tanprasert said police patrols would be intensive at three coming events: Father’s Day fair, Phuen Phueng Pha fair and Sillapacheep fair.
Police arrested 206 illegal immigrants in October, including 96 Cambodians and 66 Burmese.
Anupong holds meeting with 2nd Army Area chief, senior officers
Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Anupong Paochinda held a meeting with the commander of the 2nd Army Area and senior Army officers to brief them of the government’s stand towards Cambodia.
Army spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the meeting was held at the Army headquarters at 3 pm.
The senior officers were informed of the government’s stand and latest reports regarding to the relations of the two countries.
Sansern said they were also informed of the prime minister’s concern about the wellbeing of the people living along the Thai-Cambodian border.
They were informed that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva did not wan the strained diplomatic ties escalated into a security problem that affected the life of the people.
Commercial counselor to look after Thais in Cambodia
Alongkorn says he’s afraid of a possible repetition of violence in 2003 when Thai embassy in Phnom Penh was burnt down.
Singapore – Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot on Friday said his office of commercial affairs in Phnom Penh had been instructed to give a top priority to closely look after Thai diplomats’ families to ensure their safety in the absence of some normal consular services.
Following Cambodia’s appointment of ex-Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra as economic adviser to Cambodian premier, Thai recalled its ambassador and Cambodia expelled Thailand’s first secretary.
“I already assigned our commercial attache to look after the remaining diplomats, particularly women and children. The attache will also take care of Thais in Cambodia also,” said Alongkorn who is attending Apec Summit in Singapore.
Speaking regarding news reports about Phnom Penh’s arrest of a Thai man for allegedly spying on fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, he said the incident had fueled his concerns for the safety of Thais living in Cambodia.
“I’m afraid of a possible repetition of the untoward incident in 2003” he said.
The Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh was burned by angry Cambodian protesters in that year.
Alongkorn said the commerce ministry is attempting to maintain trade ties between Thailand and Cambodia, and its commercial counsellor remains in Phnom Penh.
Asked about the government’s plan to evacuate Thais if violence breaks out, he said Thai government agencies concerned had contingency plans in place.
The minister stressed that the Thai government had attempted to separate the political problem from trade and economic affairs. The Thai premier had a clear stance on countering Phnom Penh through diplomatic channels while maintaining relations in business and economic affairs.
However, he conceded that the situation, if allowed to continue unabated, could definitely affect the trade, investment and tourism of both countries.