Languages
Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

Cambodia takes over Thailand-run company as row deepens

Cambodia Angkor Air plane at Phnom Penh airport, Cambodia 09
New turbulence has hit the Thai-Cambodian relationship

Cambodia has taken over the running of the country's Thai-owned air traffic control firm, in a deepening row between the two neighbouring countries.

Cambodia also barred all Thai employees from turning up for work and put a Cambodian national in temporary charge.

The move comes a day after a Thai engineer working for the firm in Phnom Penh was formally charged with spying.

It is said he passed on details of last week's flight to Cambodia by former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Mr Thaksin, who is wanted in Thailand to serve a jail sentence for corruption, spent five days in Cambodia in his new role as an economic adviser.

'Seizing firm'

On Thursday, the government in Phnom Penh appointed a senior Cambodian civil servant in temporary charge of Cambodia Air Traffic Services (Cats) - a Thai-owned and Thai-operated firm.

Cambodian PM Hun Sen and former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra in Phnom Penh (10 November 2009)
Cambodia has refused to extradite Mr Thaksin (R) to Thailand

It also suspended all Thai nationals from performing their duties.

Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya urged Cambodia to respect bilateral deals, regulating the running of Cats.

"The ministry is waiting for reports from the Thai embassy and we will also have to get clarification from the Cambodian government. If it violates bilateral agreements, then we will find way to proceed," the minister told reporters.

"Cambodia is a market economy. Just seizing (a firm) would not seem right," he added.

Internal politics

Phnom Penh's move is said to be temporary pending the outcome of a legal case against a Thai engineer who works for the company, the BBC's Rachel Harvey in Bangkok reports.

Siwarak Chothipong, 31, a Cats employee, was on Wednesday charged with spying.

He is currently under arrest, accused of passing the flight details of Mr Thaksin to a Thai diplomat.

Mr Thaksin's presence across the border infuriated the Thai government, which claims he should have been extradited to serve a two-year jail term.

The former Thai prime minister was ousted in a coup in 2006, and subsequently found guilty in absentia on conflict of interest charges.

Local newspaper reports in Thailand suggest the current Thai government and Mr Thaksin are now competing to offer help to the detained engineer and his family, our correspondent says.

Rachel Harvey adds that this is an indication that the row is as much about the internal politics of Thailand as it is about cross-border rivalries.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Cambodia arrest boosts Thai row
13 Nov 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Cambodia and Thailand expel staff
12 Nov 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Thaksin accusations from Cambodia
12 Nov 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Diplomatic spat over Thaksin role
10 Nov 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Ex-Thai PM arrives in Cambodia
10 Nov 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Tranquil temple at centre of a storm
22 May 08 |  Asia-Pacific



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific