News / Asia

Thailand Working to Free Citizens Detained After Illegally Entering Cambodia

Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, right, arrives for a bilateral meeting with Cambodian counterpart at Foreign Ministry in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 30 Dec 2010
Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, right, arrives for a bilateral meeting with Cambodian counterpart at Foreign Ministry in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 30 Dec 2010
Ron Corben

The Thai government is stepping up efforts to obtain the release of seven Thais who crossed into Cambodia illegally. Thailand's prime minister denies reports he sent the seven to the disputed border area.

Government spokesman Panitan Wattanaygorn says officials are doing all they can to have the seven Thais returned home.

"We are determined to help these Thai. This is our first priority. We would like to have them returned, of course," Wattanaygorn said. "We do respect the Cambodian process and sovereignty and the law and the justice process. We hope that if the case is not moving forward [to the courts] then these people could be released."

Cambodian troops detained the group on December 29. They were led by Panich Vikitsreth, a parliament member who sits on a government committee that handles border issues with Cambodia.

Panitan dismissed media reports that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had ordered Panich to the border. Panitan says the prime minister was only informed after the fact that Panich was travelling close to the border area.

He says the foreign ministry is still seeking full information about the location where the group was arrested, which was along the border in Sa Kaeo province, 245 kilometers east of Bangkok.

In a video seen on the Internet, Panich is seen walking toward the Cambodian border.

Speaking on a mobile phone, he says he crossed into Cambodian territory and to inform the prime minister's secretary, Somkiat Krongwatanasuk.

Panich calls on his assistant to inform Abhisit they are already inside Cambodia and to call Somkiat if are any problems arise. He says they have crossed the border and trying to inspect a border marker that is in Thai territory, but he says is an area now occupied by Cambodian soldiers.

The group then walked into a nearby village, which the members claim formerly belonged to Thailand, and apparently were detained by Cambodian troops there.

A nationalist group planned a protest at the border, but the Thai army says it will prevent any gatherings in the area. The Sa Kaeo governor also warned the protesters could create problems for local people.

The nationalists claim the seven were detained in Thailand. They accuse Cambodia, also known as Kampuchea, of land encroachment. Werasak Samrit is a leader of the nationalist group, and spoke at a rally Monday in Bangkok.

"Kampuchea say Thai people entered her territory, but actually it is in Thai territory, actually it [is] Thai territory," Werasak Samrit said. "We are waiting for the government to solve this problem. I would like to ask the [Cambodian] government to release our Thai people, no condition because that [is] the Thai area, but the government not accept that."

Relations between Thailand and Cambodia had been improving in recent months, after two years of tension. Relations began to deteriorate in 2008 over a dispute involving land around a 900-year-old Hindu temple on the border. They worsened last year over visits to Cambodia by Thailand's fugitive former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who is wanted at home on corruption charges.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs