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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Red Shirt chief hasn’t fled here, Cambodia says

Red Shirt chief hasn’t fled here, Cambodia says

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday rejected a Thai media report placing Red Shirt leader Arisman Phongruangrong in Cambodia, saying border officials had not seen his name on any registration lists.

The report in the newspaper The Nation said Surachai “Rang” Thewarat, who was arrested on Thursday on terrorism charges, told investigators from the Thai department of special investigation that he had travelled with Arisman to Cambodia, and that Arisman was still in the country.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Foreign Affairs Ministry, said yesterday that the report was baseless. “Cambodia completely rejects the untrue information that Arisman or even the shadow of Arisman is in Cambodia,” he said. “All of the gates along the border reported that there is no report of someone with this name crossing the border.”

He added that if Surachai did in fact tell authorities what was attributed to him, he likely did so in a bid to mitigate any punishment he might receive. “The comment made by Surachai is an attempt to fault Cambodia in order to reduce his punishment only,” Koy Kuong said.

“Cambodia has never tolerated any person who has committed terrorism, and these people will be repatriated to their country if they are
arrested.”

The Council of Ministers last month issued a similar, albeit more forceful, denial after a report on ASTV said that Arisman and fellow Red Shirt leader Suphorn Atthawong were hiding out in a casino in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town.

On July 5, the government deported to Thailand two terrorism suspects it had previously said were not in Cambodia.

Also on Sunday, General Chea Dara, deputy commander in chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, said he had instructed troops stationed along the border to prepare for encroachment attempts on the part of Thai pro-government Yellow Shirt activists.

He accused the activists of straying “dangerously close” to Ta Moan Thom temple over the weekend.

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