Thursday, 30 April 2009

Cambodia 'not sheltering Thaksin'

Gen Tea Banh

Published on April 30, 2009

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.

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