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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

7 reds allowed to visit Cambodia

The Criminal Court on Tuesday granted permission for seven red-shirt leaders facing charges to travel to Cambodia from Sept 22-26 for a friendly football match in Phnom Penh.

The seven are Natthawut Saikua, Weng Tojirakarn, Korkaew Pikulthong, Yossawaris Chuklom or Jeng Dokchik, Wiphuthalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Nisit Sinthuprai, and Phumkitti Sukjindathong.

They placed 600,000 baht each as surety.

The court had earlier allowed four of them - Natthawut, Weng, Korkaew, and Yossawaris - to visit Cambodia on Sept 15-19 to make preparations for the football match - when Thaksin Shinawatra was also in the country.

The four and three other red-shirts, all of them charged with terrorism in connection with last year's violent political protests and prohibited from travelling abroad, requested permission for a new trip to Cambodia today.

Mr Natthawut admitted that during the first visit he and other red-shirt leaders met former prime minister Thaksin, who conveyed his regards to the Thai people and the government.

They also met Arisman Pongruangrong, another red-shirt leader who fled the country before the end of the red-shirt protests on May 19 last year.

Mr Natthawut said he tried to persuade Mr Arisman to return home and surrender to authorities but the man said he still had some problems.

Mr Korkaew, who also went to Cambodia on the first trip, said those in the opposition who criticised the red-shirts were narrow-minded because the visit was to promote relations between the two countries which would benefit Thailand.

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