Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KNLF founder Sam Serey flown to Denmark after arrest in Thailand

KNLF founder Sam Serey flown to Denmark after arrest in Thailand

KNLF founder Sam Serey is seen in a photograph included in a government dossier of evidence purporting that Serey planned to bomb Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Serey, who was arrested in Thailand on Wednesday, was flown to Denmark late Thursday. Supplied
KNLF founder Sam Serey is seen in a photograph included in a government dossier of evidence purporting that Serey planned to bomb Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Serey, who was arrested in Thailand on Wednesday, was flown to Denmark late Thursday. Supplied

KNLF founder Sam Serey flown to Denmark after arrest in Thailand

Updated at 10:0am 28 April 2018

Political fugitive Sam Serey, wanted by the Cambodian government for allegedly operating a "terrorist" group, flew to Denmark early Friday morning, despite a request for his extradition from Thailand.

Serey confirmed the flight on Friday evening, saying only, "Yes, I am now arriving in Denmark."

Serey, founder of the dissident group KNLF, was arrested in Bangkok on Wednesday after overstaying his visa. Cambodian authorities put in a request for his extradition on Thursday, citing Serey's past convictions for trying to "topple the government". He was sentenced in absentia after being granted political asylum by Denmark, where he lives.

A senior Khmer National Liberation Front member based in Bangkok, who asked for anonymity to discuss the matter, confirmed that the Danish government and a human rights group intervened in Serey's case and that Thai authorities allowed him to leave around 1:20am on Friday morning.

He said he was not sure why the Thai government agreed to allow Serey to go to Denmark instead of Cambodia.

“Only him [Serey] and Thai authority could answer it," he said. "We as members are not aware of that."

Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division, applauded the decision.

“Thailand deserves credit for making the right decision to respect Sam Serey’s continuing refugee status and sending him back to Denmark, the nation that is providing him with refugee protection," Robertson said in a statement. "Clearly, the Royal Danish Embassy, UN agencies and other like-minded diplomats in Bangkok were very determined in persuading the Thai government to respect Sam Serey’s refugee status and not send him back to Cambodia."

When contacted Friday, Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said he did not know about the situation. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Chum Sounry could not be reached.

The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs also did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokeswoman at the Danish Embassy in Bangkok, meanwhile, said she had "no new confirmed information." In a statement Thursday, the embassy confirmed only that a foreign citizen with permanent residence in Denmark was detained in Thailand.

Past convictions of Serey and several other members of the Denmark-based KNLF were widely seen as politically motivated.

Additional reporting by Andrew Nachemson

This version adds comment from Sam Serey. A previous update added comment from Human Rights Watch's Phil Roberston and other attempts at obtaining comment. A previous version of this article stated that Sam Serey flew to Denmark on Thursday. The article has been updated to reflect the fact that he traveled early on Friday morning.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia to waive quarantine requirements Nov 15, no PCR test required

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has decided to lift all quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and visitors – both Cambodians and foreign nationals – effective from November 15 onward. In a special message addressed to officials and relevant authorities on November 14, Hun Sen said this policy will enable

  • PM: No more quarantine for vaccinated travellers

    Cambodia is lifting all quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers entering Cambodia by air, waterway or land border checkpoints effective from November 15. Travellers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival rather than waiting for the results of the lengthier polymerase chain

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • 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