PUBLISHED : 8 Feb 2024 at 18:44
The recent arrest of Cambodian activists during Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet’s official visit to Bangkok on Wednesday was conducted simply because their actions were against Thai laws, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.
“Thailand respects freedom of expression and opinion, but that must comply with Thai law. What happened during the Cambodian prime minister’s visit can be deemed in violation of our statutes,” said Chatchai Viriyavejakul, director-general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian Affairs.
“If I am not mistaken, according to the immigration office, these activists have at the very least breached Thai immigration regulations.”
The Cambodian and Thai prime ministers agreed during their joint press conference not to allow each other’s country to be used as a base in which to conduct any illegal activities that may cause harm to the other side.
When asked whether the arrest of the activists would affect Thailand’s bid to win a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2025-2027 term, Mr Chatchai said they are separate matters.
Asked if the arrests could be viewed as a weaponisation of immigration law to facilitate transnational repression, he said: “Thai authorities are proceeding with the case according to Thai regulations. If those arrested are not proven guilty under our laws, they will not be prosecuted.
“For the part that said this is against global principles, I think those are subjective opinions and need to be discussed further. But I would like to insist that Thai law enforcers are proceeding with the cases according to Thai laws,” Mr Chatchai added.