Hun Sen vs the Thai junta
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Hun Sen vs the Thai junta

The Bangkok Post with the headline “Hun Sen criticism over workers denied

A report by the Phnom Penh Post, quoted in Thai media, that Prime Minister Hun Sen is not satisfied with the National Council for Peace and Order’s handling of the Cambodian migrant workers is incorrect, NCPO spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree said on Sunday.

In fact, Cambodia agrees with and supports Thailand’s way of trying to put things in order, for the benefit of all concerned, he said.

Phnom Penh Post with the headline “Junta action a ‘violation’“:

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday had sharp words for neighbouring Thailand, criticising the junta-led country for abusing the rights of Cambodian workers in what he called the largest-ever repatriation effort seen by the Kingdom.

Speaking at an event in the capital attended by the Thai ambassador, the premier said it was “a violation” to return more than 250,000 migrant workers this month without prior notification, and appealed to the junta to release 13 Cambodians arrested for allegedly using fake visas.

“I would like to ask [coup leader] General Prayuth Chan-ocha to drop all charges against them,” he said, adding that the detained workers are innocent of any wrongdoing, but are themselves victims of a scam after they paid for legal visas only to receive fake documents instead.

“The workers cannot read Thai, so they didn’t know if the visa was fake or not,” he added, ahead of a meeting today between high-ranking officials from the two governments on the Thai side of the border.

BP: No doubt Hun Sen was speaking to a domestic audience – not all those who left Thailand were repatriated with many leaving “freely” as they feared a crackdown – but there is a big difference between something said for a domestic audience vs that he didn’t say it.