THAILAND on Tuesday denied allegations levelled by Cambodian officials that it has planted false media reports about antigovernment Red Shirts crossing into Cambodia.
The Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers on Monday issued a statement denying a report in the Bangkok Post asserting that two Thais – Warisaya Boonsom and Kobchai Boonplod – had crossed the border into Cambodia on June 23, the day after the bombing of the Bhumjaithai Party headquarters in Bangkok.
Benjapol Rodsawas, identified as an immigration official in Sa Kaeo province, was quoted as confirming the crossing.
In addition to arguing that there was no evidence that the two fugitives were in Cambodia, the Council of Ministers statement called on the Thai government to end its “malicious campaign to fault Cambodia”, and accused it of “fanning acts of provocation against the Kingdom of Cambodia”.
The government issued two similar statements earlier this month after stories appeared in the Thai press alleging that Red Shirts who want to
topple Thailand’s government are hiding in Cambodia.
In response, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi on Tuesday said the Thai officials quoted in the stories had only been stating “fact”, and denied that the Thai government was attempting to link Cambodian officials to the Red Shirts.
“We have not accused Cambodia of being a safe haven or providing support for anyone. The entry of such individuals into Cambodia is simply a matter of people’s movements across [the] border,” he said.
“What the Thai authorities, including the Immigration Office, have said is only a statement of fact.”
But Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday said he did not believe the reports were true.
“The Bangkok Post quoted immigration police at the border, that the two suspects fled to Cambodia,” he said. “If the Thai immigration office knew that, why did they not make the arrests?”
He also said the names of the two fugitives cited in the report on Monday – Warisaya and Kobchai – had not appeared on registration lists at the border.
“The border always registers people when they cross the border, and the two names mentioned as suspects were not on that list,” he said. “They raise incorrect information. When Thailand has problems, they blame Cambodia.”
Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Press and Quick Reaction Unit, called on Thai officials to “make corrections”.
“If Thailand denies that they have accused Cambodia, then they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information,” he said.
“I think this is a play from the Thai government officials, who speak out without taking responsibility for their comments.”
He added: “Cambodia once again asks Thailand and its media to stop publishing inaccurate information linked to Cambodia.”