Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cambodia allows family and Thai officials to visit detained Thai engineer

Last Update : 26 November 2009

BANGKOK, Nov 26 (TNA) – The Cambodian government will allow visits on Friday to a Thai engineer detained in Phnom Penh on espionage charges, according to a Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs' spokesperson, who said that both family and Thai officials will be permitted to visit.

Director-General Vimon Kidchob of the Department of Information told a press briefing on the latest developments regarding Siwarak Chutipong, the Thai engineer at Thai-owned Cambodia Traffic Air Services (CATS), that following the Thai government’s request, the Cambodian government on Wednesday had officially informed Thailand that permission to visit Mr Siwarak by his family members and Thai officials had been granted.

The visit is scheduled for Friday at 2pm.

Ms Vimon added that Madurapochana Ittarong, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs, would go to the Khmer capital with Mr Siwarak’s family -- Simarak na Nakon Panom, his mother, and Pongsuree Chutipong, his younger brother.

The 31-year-old Siwarak was arrested earlier this month after being accused of giving fugitive ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s flight schedule to the first secretary of the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.

The diplomatic falling out between the Thai and Cambodian governments flared up after the Cambodian government appointed Mr Thaksin as its economic adviser. The two kingdoms recalled their respective ambassadors in retaliatory actions.

The Cambodian government also invited Mr Thaksin to Phnom Penh to lecture over 300 Cambodian businessmen and economists as his first assignment, at the same time rejecting Thailand's request to extradite the fugitive former premier.

As the diplomatic row continues, Mr Thaksin's interview with Britain’s Timesonline website continued to rankle Thais.

In the article, Mr Thaksin commented about the Thai monarch and his successor, with remarks considered offensive to the monarchy. The ousted premier, however, reportedly defended himself by saying his interview was ‘distorted’ by the reporter.

Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) board decided to investigate the arm of Britain’s Times of London as a special case due to its exclusive interview with Mr Thaksin deemed offensive to the monarch. (TNA)

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