Thai Fugitive Was With Minister, Official Says

A Cambodian government official said he saw Thai fugitive Duangchalerm Yubamrung in co-Minister of Defense Tea Banh’s Phnom Penh house about a month and a half ago.

Duangchalerm, the son of a Thai parliamentarian, is wanted in connection with the fatal Oct 29 shooting of a police officer in a Bangkok nightclub. He has re­ported to be hiding in Cambo­dia—allegedly aided by Tea Banh and his brother, Cambodian Navy deputy chief Tea Vinh, who have close ties to Thai politicians.

Both men deny being involved with Duangchalerm. “He is not in my house. I don’t know who his father is,” Tea Banh said. “I am a victim here. This is a dispute among Thai politicians and they are trying to divert it to Cam­bodia.” But the government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Tea Banh is helping Duangchalerm out of friendship with some Thai politicians.

“When we have a problem they help us. Now they have a problem and we help them. These are political relations. It does not mean we are accepting this fugitive for money,” the official said.

 

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