Thursday, April 30, 2009

RTAF tracks Thaksin's jet into Cambodia

By: WASSANA NANUAM
Published: 30/04/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News

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 disputes.

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