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Anti-graft activist going to casino site at own risk: Prawit

Mar 27. 2017
file photo : Gen Prawit Wongsuwan
file photo : Gen Prawit Wongsuwan
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By The Nation

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Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan said on Monday he would not responsible for anything unfortunate that might happen to anti-corruption activist Veera Somkwamkid who will take the media to visit the site of a controversial new casino, alleged to straddle Thai and Cambodian territory.

Prawit said it was a personal decision for Veera and if any unfortunate incident happened to him, including another arrest by Cambodian authorities, he must take care of it himself.

Veera was once arrested and jailed in Cambodia during an attempt to prove a similar issue concerning Prea Vihear.

He has invited the media to visit the site of the casino along with him on Wednesday to prove his point.

The opening of the new casino came under the spotlight after Veera claimed in his Facebook posts that the gambling centre was located in an overlapping border area between Thailand and Cambodia, and possibly 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 Chong 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 last 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.

In his post, 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 last 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.

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