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CATS caretakership to end soon, Samart says

CATS caretakership to end soon, Samart says

THAILAND’s Samart Corporation, owner of Cambodian Air Traffic Services (CATS), said on Wednesday that it has received assurances that it will be permitted to operate as normal following the trial of a CATS employee accused of leaking the flight schedule of fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

“The appointment of a senior civil aviation official as the temporary caretaker to oversee the CATS operations is only to ensure an uninterrupted service and to ensure the Cambodian national security during the investigation,” the company said in a statement. “Samart has ... confirmed that CATS operation will be resumed under normal management once the investigation and legal process is thoroughly cleared.”

The Cambodian government took control of CATS last week and barred its nine Thai employees from work following the arrest on November 12 of CATS employee Siwarak Chotpong, who faces seven to 15 years in prison for leaking Thaksin’s flight information to the Thai embassy.

Samart President Watchai Vilailuck said he was anxious to see an end to conflict between Thailand and Cambodia.

“Due to the political conflicts in Thailand, as a listed company, we have been through many difficulties and seriously don’t want to be used as a political tool,” he said in the statement. “We only hope that we can resume our business as usual soon.”

Siwarak’s trial has been scheduled for December 8, and his mother plans to visit him at Prey Sar prison on Friday, defence attorney Kao Soupha said, adding that he hoped Siwarak’s bail would be granted because of concern over his asthma.

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