Thai fugitive Thaksin departs Cambodia


Fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra left Cambodia Saturday, officials said, concluding a trip which has stoked a major diplomatic crisis between the two countries.


Thaksin, who was toppled in a military coup in 2006 and is living abroad to avoid a jail term for corruption in Thailand, was seen by an AFP reporter departing the country Saturday morning by private jet.

Cambodia’s deputy cabinet minister Prak Sakhorn confirmed Thaksin had left, four days after he arrived in the country to take up a role as economics adviser to the government.

Thaksin “spy” charged

Cambodian police said they had charged a Thai man with spying on Thaksin, inflaming a major diplomatic crisis between the neighbouring countries.

The spy row blew up as Thaksin played a relaxed round of golf with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, underscoring Bangkok’s powerlessness to make Phnom Penh extradite the billionaire and get him to serve a jail term for graft.

Siwarak Chothipong, 31, who works for the Cambodia Air Traffic Service, was arrested and charged with supplying the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh with details of Thaksin’s flight schedule, said Cambodian police officials.

“We sent him to the court and he was charged with releasing information related to the national security of Cambodia,” national police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said.

“He tried to search for information related to the special flight of Thaksin in order to send it out of the country,” he said, adding that police were investigating whether more people were involved.

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