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Army chief warns anti-corruption crusader over media visit to border casino 

Mar 28. 2017
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By The Nation

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Army chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart warned anti-corruption activist Veera Somkwamkid that he risked causing unrest if he went ahead with his plan on Wednesday to take media to the site of a controversial new casino alleged to straddle the Thai-Cambodia border.

Chalermchai said locals made a living near the casino and Veera’s visit could make them feel uncomfortable and lead to a confrontation.

In 2009, Veera led a group to try and prove the area overlapped between Thailand and Cambodia near Phrea Vihear, leading to a skirmish between his group and the locals, the Army chief said.

He wants Veera to think twice about the trip and not use it for personal gain, as the boundary issue was sensitive.

He said Veera should proceed with the case using legal means.

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan had said he would not be responsible if anything unfortunate happened to Veera.

Prawit said it was a personal decision for Veera to arrange the media inspection and if any unfortunate incident happened to him, including being arrested by Cambodian authorities, he must take care of himself.

The opening of the new casino came under the spotlight after Veera claimed in Facebook posts that it was located in the overlapping border area between Thailand and Cambodia, as well as possibly being located in 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 a post he made on the issue had led to a warrant being issued for his arrest over a week ago for violation of the Computer Crime Act.

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