Home > Local News > Bangkok MP affirms honest intent on trip to Thai-Cambodian border

Bangkok MP affirms honest intent on trip to Thai-Cambodian border

BANGKOK, Jan 24 — Ruling Democrat Party member of parliament
Panich Vikitsreth, one of five Thais released by the Cambodian court on
Friday, affirmed his honest intention to travel to the Thai-Cambodian
border only to help villagers, with no determination to trespass on
Cambodian soil.

Mr Panich, former vice-minister for foreign affairs, also insisted he
had neither confessed nor admitted at the Cambodian court that he or
the other six Thais had entered into Cambodian territory.  He also
believed that the verdict would have no binding effect on the border
disputes between the two countries.

Speaking for the first time at a news conference held at Samitivej
Hospital where he is having a medical check-up and treatment, Mr Panich
said he went to the border with determination to inspect the area
following a complaint from local villagers that they could not enter
their land for farming, preventing by Cambodian soldiers, even though
they had their land ownership  documents.

During the 40-minute news briefing, Mr Panich also thanked the
government and agencies concerned which provided assistance to him and
the other six. He said he believed that the government would try its
best to secure the release of the remaining two people still being held
in Cambodia.

He said he is a new MP, so he was eager to help the villagers and never
thought that the incident would escalate. He felt very sorry and wanted
to apologise to everyone who was affected by the incident.

The MP also affirmed that the area he and the group investigated was the contested area, being claimed by both countries.

Mr Panich said he will attend the joint sitting of parliament session
dealing with constitutional amendments Tuesday and Wednesday, for their
second and third readings, and is awaiting permission from his doctors.

The Democrat MP said he was confident that his status as an MP remains
intact, but it is acceptable for him if the involved agencies rule that
he is no longer qualified to serve as an MP.

His status was thrown into doubt after he was given a suspended jail
term by a Cambodian court. The Thai Constitution stipulates that MPs
lose their status when convicted and jailed, or convicted and given a
suspended jail term.

Mr Panich said after returning to Bangkok, he was admitted to hospital
for treatment as he felt that irregularities had occurred regarding his
health.

Dr Chokchai Jarusiripipat, director of Samitivej Hospital said the
medical tests would confirm in five to seven days whether he had
contracted malaria or typhoid while being held in Prey Sar Prison in
Cambodia.

Dr CHokchai said the results of the check up will be known this
afternoon, and that based on that, whether to allow Mr Panich to attend
the Parliament session.

Mr Panich and four other Thai detainees returned to Bangkok Saturday
after the Cambodian court ruled that they were guilty of illegal entry
and intentionally trespassing into Cambodian territory. They were
sentenced to nine-month suspended jail terms and a fine of one million
riel (US$250) each.

The five were among seven Thai citizens who were arrested Dec 29 on charges of trespassing on Cambodian territory.  

The remaining two Thais are Veera Somkwamkid, coordinator of the Thai
Patriots Network, the sole Thai detainee still being held in Prey Sar
Prison, and Ratree Pipattanapaiboon, Mr Veera’s secretary.

They faced additional charges of espionage and the court is expected to
hand down its on their cases verdict on Feb 1 as earlier scheduled.
(MCOT online news)

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Categories: Local News
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