Rainsy stopped in Paris from boarding Thai flight

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - Airline officials at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport on Thursday prevented Sam Rainsy from boarding his flight to Bangkok ahead of his announced return to Cambodia on Saturday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen had earlier in the day assured Phnom Penh
residents that there would be no violence in the capital despite
Rainsy’s vowed return to the Kingdom.

Hun Sen also urged those involved in Rainsy’s plot to join some 300 others and confess.

Rainsy had announced that he would land at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi
Airport on Friday on Thai Airways Flight TG931. He would then continue
to Aranyaprathet at the border and enter Cambodia through Poipet.

However, the Thai Airways counter turned away the “acting
president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party
(CNRP), AFP reported.

“I am extremely shocked because the people need me in Cambodia. I
will never give up,” Rainsy told reporters as he got into a taxi to
leave the airport. He insisted he would seek “an alternative flight to
be able to leave for Thailand today”.

On Wednesday, while not mentioning Rainsy by name, Thai Prime
Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said the country would adhere to its
“commitment to Asean” and “not allow any anti-government person to use
Thailand for activism”.

Despite this, Rainsy continues to claim he will land in Thailand.

Presiding over the launch of the National Development Strategic Plan
2019-2023 on Thursday at a hotel in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen said he had
received information that parents of factory workers were worried about
their daughters and sons working in Phnom Penh and had told them to go
back home, fearing outbreaks of violence in the capital.

“There will be no fighting in the middle of Phnom Penh. If there is
any action, it will target only nine people. But these nine people will
not come, and no wonder! Now he delays his departure for November 9,”
Hun Sen said, referring to nine people the court had issued arrest
warrants for and Rainsy’s planned return.

“He won’t depart on November 7, reaching Thailand on the 8th and
arriving in Cambodia on the 9th,” the prime minister said, adding that
Rainsy was only strong on Facebook.

Hun Sen also thanked Malaysia and Indonesia for their cooperation in
detaining a former senior CNRP leader and its supporters, when he
referred to CNRP vice-president Mu Sochua who was reportedly arrested by
Malaysian authorities.

He also said thanked Thai Prime Minster Prayut for not allowing Rainsy into Thailand to enter Cambodia.

Hun Sen reminded all those involved with plotting to come out and confess to receive clemency.

He said some of them were hiding in the Cardamom Mountains, but they
should come and confess to be able to join in the Water Festival
celebrations.

They would be arrested once they were found, he said, as they had
crossed the red line of freedom of speech by insulting King Norodom
Sihamoni, calling on him to abdicate, and by seeking the arrest of the
prime minister.

“I want to stress that I appeal to all of those involved and are
already on the list – you cannot flee anywhere. So to avoid problems for
yourselves, just show yourselves. We will forgive you if you stop your
plotting and will not punish you,” Hun Sen stressed.

“Please our international friends, understand this about Cambodia –
Cambodia has no choice but to protect the lives of our people and the
peace that must not be destroyed by any small group of people,” he said.

A National Police spokesperson told The Post that as of Thursday, 298
people involved with plotting had confessed, while 63 had been arrested
and 69 were subject to arrest warrants.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said Hun Sen was using a carrot and stick strategy to get his opponents to surrender to him.

Royal Academy of Cambodia president Sok Touch said Hun Sen had given
those who supported Rainsy out of “confusion” a chance for leniency.

“There are those who are misinformed and have been cheated. But the
government still has a heart for them to achieve national
reconciliation.

“National reconciliation by forgiving those who have been misinformed
is really important for a leader and the government,” Touch said.

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