Wednesday, November 25, 2009

'I'm not a spy, flight details were public'

'I'm not a spy, flight details were public'


The Foreign Ministry released a hand-written letter yesterday from Siwarak Chutipong detailing his account of the allegations that landed him in jail in Cambodia.

The letter, dated Monday (Nov 23), said the information about fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's flight schedule he had sent to a Thai diplomat was not out of the ordinary and could be accessed by the public.

"I have worked in Cambodia for eight years and have done nothing wrong. I have never been involved in politics and have no ill intention against Cambodia, otherwise I would not have worked here for this long," Siwarak said in the letter.

He said he had no idea what had happened, and that there might have been some misunderstandings between the two governments.

"I know that Thai people are concerned about me and I appreciate that, but I don't want my case to ignite any conflicts between Thai and Cambodian people," he said. "My problem can be solved peacefully."

He also thanked the Thai government for providing assistance.

Siwarak's letter was delivered to the Foreign Ministry by his lawyer Kao Soupha on Monday, though the ministry only publicised it yesterday after the lawyer told reporters Siwarak had confessed to giving Thaksin's flight information to a Thai diplomat, who was later expelled.

In the letter, Siwarak said he was not a spy and hoped the Cambodian court would be just and release him so he could be with his family.

"I work to help develop Cambodia. I never expected such a bad thing to happen to me," he said.

Siwarak was arrested on November 12 when Thaksin was in Phnom Penh to deliver a lecture on economic matters to Cambodian economists and businesspeople. His visit fuelled tensions between Thailand and Cambodia.

In another development, a fishery boat owner in Trat province said provincial authorities in Koh Kong Cambodia had hiked fishery concession fees from Bt60,000 per boat per expedition to Bt80,000. The fisherman, Kitti Surarith, said Cambodian waters had been sealed off until the new fees could be put into effect.

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