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Govt warns against travel to Thailand

CAMBODIAN citizens travelling to Thailand should exercise extreme caution this week, ahead of a potentially explosive court verdict set for Friday involving fugitive former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Monday.

Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Cambodians who are planning to travel to Bangkok within the next few days should postpone trips that are not absolutely necessary.

“We are afraid that violent incidents will happen” on Friday, Koy Kuong said, noting that other governments have also warned their citizens to avoid
the Thai capital this week. These countries include the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, whose warning said last week that Thailand’s security “remains unpredictable, and further political unrest and violence cannot be ruled out”.

The tens of thousands of migrants from Cambodia who are working in Thailand must avoid public demonstrations, Koy Kuong added, as political demonstrations in Thailand have turned violent on several occasions in recent years.

On Friday, Thailand’s supreme court will decide whether to seize more than 76 billion baht (US$2.3 billion) of Thaksin’s assets based on allegations that he abused his political power for business interests.

Thailand’s opposition Red Shirts – supporters of the former leader, who was ousted in a 2006 coup before going into voluntary exile in 2008 to avoid a prison term for corruption – are planning massive rallies in Bangkok to coincide with the verdict, launching calls of bias against the Thai judiciary.

Chawanon Intharakomansut, secretary to the Thai foreign minister, said Thailand was “prepared for anything”, emphasising the ability of government forces to maintain order.

“I think we have assured foreigners ... that Thai people can protest peacefully and unarmed,” Chawanon said. “If something goes out of control, I think we can guarantee that the ministry and the police and the officials can handle the situation.”



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