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PM responds to Rainsy ticket claims

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Sam Rainsy, the ‘acting president’ of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), raises his fist surrounded by supporters at the Charles de Gaulle airport, north of Paris on November 7 during his failed attempt to board a plane for Bangkok. DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP

PM responds to Rainsy ticket claims

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday expressed frustration over claims by Sam Rainsy that he had altered Rainsy’s ticket with Thai Airways to prevent him boarding his November 7 flight to Thailand, from where he had claimed he would enter Cambodia.

Hun Sen made the remarks while presiding over a graduation ceremony of nearly 2,000 students at the National Institute of Education.

The prime minister said the world had to be careful because Hun Sen could have flights details altered.

“He said a hacker had made changes to his plane ticket for November 7. So the world has to be careful with Hun Sen’s techniques, with his technical group able to hack the computers of Thai Airways.

“If they could the hack computers of Thai Airways then they could hack anything.

“Why does [Rainsy] place such a high value on Hun Sen? They are his problems, but he puts the blame on Hun Sen. Let’s think about this.

“[Thai Airways] has international standards, but he dares so to accuse Hun Sen. What if it was just a simple thing? How can Hun Sen be accused?” the prime minister said.

Rainsy had claimed he would board a Thai Airways flight from Paris to Bangkok on November 7, and then continue to the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border checkpoint to enter Cambodia.

However, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, later claimed that the airline had told him he could not board the plane after receiving orders from the Thai government.

On the same day, Rainsy posted pictures of two plane tickets on his Facebook page saying: “It is clear – Hun Sen is behind those who changed my ticket with Thai Airways, which was changed from a flight from Paris on November 7 to one on November 9.”

However, Rainsy said in the same Facebook post that the real reason he had failed to board the plane was not due to Hun Sen, but rather to orders given to the airline by the Thai authorities.

Hun Sen said he was prepared to ask Thai Airways whether Rainsy had either booked or bought the ticket. He said he heard that the company had announced that Rainsy had failed to book it.

“The airline said he had no ticket. But [Rainsy] claimed that he had discovered a thief – Hun Sen, who hacked the computer. So be careful – all of you who have phones, I can hack everything!” the prime minister said.

Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said Rainsy’s claims of his ticket being altered was merely an excuse after he had failed to return Cambodia.

“To console his supporters, he has to find an excuse to explain his failure to return. No one could secretly change his ticket,” Phea said.

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