Home > Local News > What do Prince Ranariddh and Kem Sokha think of the arrest of Thai trespassers?

What do Prince Ranariddh and Kem Sokha think of the arrest of Thai trespassers?

By Khmerization
Source: RFA

Cambodian political leaders generally support the Cambodian government’s tough measures against the 7 Thai trespassers who had been remanded in custody and sent to be detained in Preysor Prison, despite a strong representation from the Thai Prime Minister and Foreign Minister for their release.

profile politicians such as Prince Norodom Ranariddh (pictured),
president of the eponymous Norodom Ranariddh Party and Mr. Kem Sokha,
president of the Human Rights Party, as well as theCambodian civil society,
applauded the government’s tough action against the Thais, but they
have also called for the same tough action to be applied to the
Vietnamese and Laotian trespassers as well.

The 7 Thai
trespassers, including one member of parliament from the ruling
Democrat Party, who were arrested on 29th December for trespassing into
Cambodian territory, had been charged under Article 473 of the Criminal Code and Article 29 of Cambodia’s Immigration
Laws and have been remanded in Preysor Prison awaiting for their trial
date. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dispatched Foreign Minister
Kasit Piromya to Phnom Penh to secure their release, but he returned
home empty-handed. If convicted, they could be jailed for up to 18

The Cambodian tough action against the 7 Thai nationals is lenient compared to the Thai tough actions against Cambodian
trespassers. According to a 2010 report by local human rights group
Adhoc, it was revealed that there were 14 cases of Thai shootings
againstCambodian civilians, involving the killings of 15 people in total. On the Laotian border, there were many cases of shootings and killings of Cambodian civilians also.

Kem Sokha, president of Human Rights Party, said he supports the
government legal procedure against the Thai trespassers and asked theCambodian government to demand that Thai troops stop killing Cambodian trespassers by bringing them to justice in a court of law instead. “I
do not support any barbaric act. But I support the government’s measure
of detaining those Thais who have trespassed into our territory. This
shows the government’s will to defendCambodian sovereignty and territorial integrity. But I request that what measures the government had taken against the western border (with Thailand), it must take the same measures on the eastern border (with Vietnam) also”
, he said.

Mr. Rong Chhun, chairman of Cambodian
Watchdog Council who had led many delegations to inspect border
encroachments on the eastern border with Vietnam, echoed a similar
sentiment. “Not only for a
particular country, even for the country on our east (Vietnam), if they
trespass our territory, we must arrest and detain them. And the other
good point is that we want the Thai government to follow the good
example of theCambodian government and tell its troops that if Cambodian
civilians had trespassed into their territory, they should avoid using
violence that involved in taking the life of a humankind”,
he said.

Mr. Ou Virak, president of Cambodian Human Rights Centre, agreed that the Cambodian measures taken against the Thai trespassers are better than the Thai measures against Cambodian trespassers who had been brutally killed in the past. But he opined that to maintain good bilateral ties, the Cambodian government should release them.
“I hope that Prime Minister Hun Sen should resolve to grant a pardon to
these 7 Thais, despite their convictions. There should be a (royal)
pardon and then deporting those 7 Thais back to their country”,
he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, however, said that the arrests of the 7 Thais will not affect the bilateral diplomatic ties between the two countries. “I think that the arrests of the 7 Thai people will not turn into a new diplomatic dispute between Cambodia and Thailand again”, he said.

Prine Norodom Ranariddh, president of the revamped Norodom Ranariddh Party, said illegal entry and illegal immigration of other nationalities to Cambodia is big concern. “Why Cambodian
citizens cannot enter Vietnam (illegally)? When they entered, they were
arrested, bundled into trucks and sent back to Cambodia? Why many
Cambodians who went to work in Thailand and had committed minor
mistakes were tortured and bundled into trucks and sent back to
Cambodia? Why a number of (foreign) immigrants came to live in Cambodia
(illegally) as they please and even have a right to vote (in the
elections)? Don’t say that I am against (the migrants), I am not
against them. During the time that my father (Sihanouk) leading the
country, there were some Vietnameseimmigration to Cambodia, but they came with proper documents, they respect Cambodian laws. I don’t understand why?”,
he said.

The Cambodian
government refused to intervene to the court to release of the 7 Thais
which sent them to Preysor Prison awaiting trial, despite nearly an
hour of meeting between Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya andCambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong to secure their release. No date for the trial of the 7 Thais has been set yet.

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