Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Troops deployed at Thai border to ensure stability’

‘Troops deployed at Thai border to ensure stability’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said on Sunday that deploying troops at the Thai border ensured stability, with the armed forces having an obligation to uphold national security. Supplied

‘Troops deployed at Thai border to ensure stability’

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said on Sunday that deploying troops at the Thai border ensured stability, with the armed forces having an obligation to uphold national security.

Siphan also denied that airlines had been banned from flying Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), into the Kingdom.

He said civil aviation authorities had only issued a notice that Rainsy was a traitor who was plotting a coup.

The CNRP claimed Rainsy and other top leaders still intended to return to Cambodia on Saturday.

“The armed forces have an obligation as stipulated in Cambodia’s laws and its Constitution to maintain public order and protect the state. The armed forces will not allow any force to stage a coup against the government, which was born out of the will of the people.

“So the deployment of the armed forces comes from this obligation to protect public order and the government as stipulated in the Constitution and the laws regarding the armed forces,” he said.

Siphan stressed that Cambodian civil aviation authorities had not banned any airlines from flying Rainsy or any other CNRP leader into the Kingdom.

“As far as I am aware, there is no ban. Just a notice [has been issued] that this person is a traitor and is plotting to stage a coup. The government does not have the right to control the private sector, but it does have the obligation to say that a person is wanted by the authorities.

“The government is obliged to arrest Sam Rainsy after the court ordered his arrest,” Siphan said.

He said activities aimed at toppling the government would resolutely not be allowed.

“This does not mean that the government is afraid of Sam Rainsy, but rather the government must protect public order and we can respond,” he said.

Mao Havanall, the minister in charge of civil aviation, was quoted by Bayon TV on Thursday as saying he would not allow any airline to transport Rainsy to Cambodia as he aimed to topple the Cambodian government.

If any airline or pilot were to transport Rainsy, they would be guilty of plotting with him, he had said.

“We have been preparing since before November 9, the date on which the convict Sam Rainsy said he wants to return to Cambodia. So we have prepared a working group with experts and technical officials.

“We are ready. We will know in advance, especially as we are cooperating with the airways transport department, which has information from all airlines and Cambodia’s three international airports.

“We also have an electronic system in place, and we will know immediately when he checks in before boarding a plane,” Havanall told reporters.

However, Cambodian Civil Aviation spokesman Chea Aun also denied that the 47 airlines operating in Cambodia had been ordered not to transport Rainsy.

Aun said a notice had just been issued to airlines that Rainsy’s return was intended to orchestrate a coup.

“Rainsy comes to stage a coup. When the airlines know that he comes to provoke people to revolt against the Royal Government of Cambodia, they will not dare transport him.

“Although we did not tell them not to do so, they will not dare transport him. It is not a threat, we just notified them to understand the situation,” Aun said.

Meanwhile, the armed forces consisting of the army, military police and police have been deployed along the Thai border in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces and ordered to train and remain on alert.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak told The Post that the deployment of forces along the border was in preparation to arrest Rainsy

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said only a handful of law enforcement officers were necessary to arrest Rainsy, while deploying security forces to deal with his return appeared disproportionate and inconsistent.

Mong Hay said: “A court of law has summoned Sam Rainsy to appear in court to face the charges against him. Yet the Civil Aviation Authority prevents airlines from flying him to his homeland.

“This is rather bizarre and begs the question as to whether the government wants to arrest him or prevent him from returning home,” he said.

“Preventing the CNRP leaders from returning home is a serious violation of Articles 31, 33 and 40 of the Constitution,” he said.

Watch video:

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group