Monday, November 18, 2019

Defiant Veera now urges media to visit new casino site

Mar 25. 2017
Veera claims in the photo that the casino is just behind the Chong Sai Takoo checkpoint, Burirum.
Veera claims in the photo that the casino is just behind the Chong Sai Takoo checkpoint, Burirum.
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By The Nation

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Anti-corruption activist Veera Somkwamkid has made a post on his Facebook page on Wednesday inviting the media to visit a new casino allegedly sited on overlapping territory between Thailand and Cambodia.

The move is apparently in response to the rejection of this allegation by some senior military officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan who said on Tuesday that the casino was located in Cambodian territory.

Veera pointed out that the casino is actually on territory that Thailand is still contesting, and hence Thai authorities should not help confirm such an unverified fact.

He wanted to take the media to the site to prove the point.

The opening of the new casino came under the spotlight after Veera claimed in his Facebook posts that the casino was located in a border area and may be sited in the Ta Phraya National Park, which forms part of a World Heritage Site.

Veera questioned why the military government had allowed this to happen, and suspected that the previous post he had made on the same issue had led to a warrant being issued for his arrest over a week ago for violation of the Computer Crime Act.

The casino is reported to be situated close to the Sai Takoo border checkpoint in Buri Ram province where former politician Newin Chidchob, now a football-club owner, is known to be influential.

Newin on Monday filed a complaint with the police seeking charges against the Facebook account owner, apparently Veera, for posts that he claimed had also implicated him of involvement with the casino, Nation TV reported.

But in his post last Sunday, Veera did not mention Newin, but referred to some close aides of Cambodian leaders.

He also alleged that Thailand’s National Parks Department was being negligent in carrying out its duty.

This resulted in the agency undertaking an examination of the official map of the national park to prove that the casino was not located within its perimeter, followed by a prompt denial of Veera’s allegation

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said on Tuesday that the Cabinet had not considered at its weekly meeting the issue of the new casino being allegedly sited on an adjoining territory between Thailand and Cambodia. The Foreign Ministry has also not written to Cambodian authorities regarding the matter, he said.

Don added that a number of casinos had opened in border areas without posing any problems.

Former police chief Somyot Poompanmoung, who is known to have thrown his support for legalisation of casinos, on Wednesday stepped out to file a police complaint against a Facebook page that accused him of jointly investing with a politician in a new casino on the Thailand-Cambodia border near Buri Ram province. Anutin Charnvirakul, leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, also joined him in filing the complaint, but it’s not clear whether the page is Veera’s.

Somyot insisted that he had no role in the casino and he had never run any business in Cambodia. He said what had caused him the most concern was the allegation that he had referred to a noble figure, and that’s the reason why he had filed a police complaint.

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