Thai Suspect Not in Cambodia, Officials Say

Cambodian authorities Wed­nes­day denied that Thai murder suspect Duangchalerm Yu­bam­rung is hiding in Cambodia and said that if he were, they would send him home to face justice.

“If he was here in Cambodia, we could arrest him and send him back, but in fact he is not here,” co-Defense Minister Tea Banh said. “If you don’t believe me, go check in Poipet. But pack some rice, because it will be a long trip.”

The Bangkok Post reported Wed­nesday that Duangchalerm is being hidden by Cambodian Navy Commander Tea Vinh, Tea Banh’s brother. Tea Vinh, who lives in Koh Kong, could not be reached for comment.

Tea Banh dismissed the ac­count as nonsense. “The newspapers are exaggerating, trying to make a story,” he said. “I have no relation with this guy involved in this problem, nothing at all.”

Koh Kong provincial Governor Yuth Phoutang said it is not possible that Duangchalerm is hiding in his province. “There aren’t ma­ny people here, and we control every house,” he said. “Please come and check.”

Duangchalerm is the son of Cha­lerm Yubamrung, a Thai mem­ber of parliament said to be close to Tea Banh. Duang­cha­lerm is wanted in connection with the Oct 29 shooting death of a police officer in a Bangkok nightclub.

Duangchalerm disappeared af­ter the shooting. He and his two bro­thers have had 12 brushes with the law in the past three years but have never been punished.

Chalerm Yubamrung and his family made headlines over the weekend when they fled the Prin­cess Hotel and Casino in Poipet after two bombs went off at the nearby Golden Crown Casino. Po­lice blame the bombings on a business dispute.

The family’s presence in Poipet led to speculation they had come to Cambodia to visit Duang­cha­lerm. The trial in the policeman’s death began without him Wed­nes­day in Bangkok.

(Additional re­porting by The Associated Press)

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