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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Thai \yellow shirts rally in Bangkok

Activists from Thailand’s Yellow Shirt movement have burned Prime Minister Hun Sen’s photo and staged rallies in Bangkok to protest against last week’s arrest of a Thai parliamentarian and six other Thais for allegedly trespassing on Cambodian territory.

Panich Vikitsreth, an MP from Thailand’s ruling Democrat Party, was arrested along with six others near a Cambodian military encampment in Banteay Meanchey province’s O’Chrou district, across the border from Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province, while attempting to “investigate” the border demarcation process.

The group were charged in Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week with illegal entry and unlawfully entering a military base, charges that carry a combined maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.

Also among those arrested was Veera Somkwamkid, a former activist with the People’s Alliance for Democracy, as the mainstream Yellow Shirt movement is formally known, who now heads a PAD splinter group called the Thailand Patriot Network.

On Friday, Yellow Shirt protesters gathered outside the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok and burned a coffin with Hun Sen’s photo on it.

The protests in the Thai capital continued Sunday, and the Yellow Shirts have vowed to stage a thousands-strong rally in Sa Kaeo province on Tuesday.

“We don’t have any reaction to these unlawful extremists,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said. “We’ll just let the court officials proceed with their work.”

PAD spokesman Panthep Puapongpan claimed the group had evidence that last week’s arrests took place on Thai soil and were thus unlawful. He accused the Cambodian government of staging the incident to distract from alleged Vietnamese incursions on the Kingdom’s eastern border, where the opposition Sam Rainsy Party has staged repeated protests.

“The Cambodians have been invaded by the Vietnamese and they cannot protest,” Panthep said. “[Cambodian leaders] want to deviate the attention of the Cambodian people and fight with the Thai government.”

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said, however, that the Thai government had conducted its own investigation of the case and had concluded that the arrests were in fact made on Cambodian soil.

Thani said Bangkok had no comment on the protests against Hun Sen and Cambodia.

“The issue is being covered by the court,” he said. “We should leave it to the court.”

Pich Vicheka, a lawyer representing Veera and three other defendants in the case, said yesterday that he had yet to receive any information on a trial date, adding that he was considering submitting a bail request for his the full story in tomorrow’s Phnom Penh Post or see the updated story online from 3PM UTC/GMT +7 hours.
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UN urged to help Arrested 7

The Thai Patriots Network has asked the United Nations to help secure the release of seven Thais held in Phnom Penh on charges of illegal entry into Cambodia, and claims to have proof of their innocence.

The network, led by Somboon Thongburan and allied to the People's Alliance for Democracy, gave a petition to the UN at its regional headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue yesterday.

The petition included a copy of land title deeds and receipts of tax payments on the land, which is said to prove that the Thais, including Democrat MP Panich Vikitsreth, were actually arrested on Thai soil in Khok Sung district, Sa Kaeo.

Mr Somboon said the land belonged to Khem Paengsungnern and was connected to border marker No 46, and the Thais were about 300m from the border mark when they were arrested last Wednesday.

This contradicts findings by the Thai Foreign Ministry, which admitted earlier that the Thais were about one kilometre inside Cambodian territory at the time of the arrest.

Thai ambassador to Cambodia, Prasas Prasasvinitchai, has visited the seven Thais at Prey Sor prison on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

The detainees are poised to meet family members when Cambodian officials resume work after New Year.

Chavanond Komalayasut, secretary to the Thai foreign minister, said Mr Panich's wife, Patchareeporn Vikitsreth, left Bangkok yesterday for Phnom Penh, where she will wait for approval for the prison visit.

Lawyers plan to file bail requests to the court for the Thais as soon as the court resumes duty next week.

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PAD calls anti-Cambodia rally

Members of the yellow-shirt people group and the Thailand Patriot Network will hold a protest in the eastern province of Sa Kaew on Tuesday, Jan 4, to call for a the release of detained seven Thais, core leader of the network Chaiwat Sinsuwong said in a press conference on Sunday.

The yellow-shirt supporters of the People’s Alliance for Democracy and the Thailand Patriot Network are now staging protest against the government in front of Government House for failing to rapidly seek the release of their leaders and colleagues being jailed in Cambodia.

Mr Chaiwat said the Tuesday rally against Cambodian government will be held on Sripen road in Sakaew province.

“The yellow-shirts will continue rallying in front of Government House on Monday, Jan 3, and on Tuesday, they will regroup at the venue in Sa kaew as planned”, He said.

He expected at least 5,000 yellow-shirts would join the planned anti-Cambodian government rally.
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Minbear: to spend Y5 Billion to build new motor plant in Cambodia-Smart money

TOKYO -(Dow Jones)- Minebea Co. (6479.TO) said Monday it will spend about Y5 billion to construct a new motor plant in Cambodia

The Japanese precision component company said the plant will be its first major new production facility since it built a plant in Shanghai in 1994.

Aimed at strengthening its production network in Southeast Asia, the new facility will receive parts from a Minebea plant in Thailand, and will manufacture small and mid-sized motors for home electronics and other uses.

Minebea said it will first lease production facilities in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone and will kick off production there from April 2011. The company will then construct a new plant in the zone, which is slated to begin production by the end of 2012 with a maximum of 5,000 workers.

-By Hiroyuki Kachi, Dow Jones Newswires; 813-6269-2789;

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