Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said on Friday that Cambodia’s arrest of a Thai engineer on spying charges is nothing more than intimidation with the intention to defame Thailand. Cambodia has charged Siwarak Chothipong, an engineer of Cambodia Air Traffic Services, for “stealing” the flight information of ex-Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra and Cambodia’s PM Hun Sen.
Cambodian prosecutors alleged that Siwarak stole the information and sent it to Thai embassy’s first secretary Kamrob Palawatwichai. Cambodia on Thursday expelled Kamrob following the accusation that he had executed work in contradiction to his position. He was ordered to leave the country within 48 hours. “It is clearly intimidation with intent to defame Thailand by Cambodia,” said Kasit, who cut short his participation in ministerial preparatory meetings for the Apec Summit in Singapore.
He accused Thaksin of being the major cause of all the problems Thailand having with Cambodia. He said he had assigned officials of Thai embassy in Phnom Penh to assist and provide legal advice to Siwarak. Cambodia’s appointment of Thaksin as the adviser to Hun Sen and his government has seen the start of the current diplomatic rows between the neighbouring countries. Both have recalled their ambassadors and the first secretaries. Thailand has downgraded relations and reviewed cooperation with and loans given to Cambodia.