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Student mob torches thai embassy in cambodia
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  1. #1
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    shocked

    Student Mob Torches Thai Embassy in Cambodia
    (Reuters) By Ek Madra



    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (Reuters) - Thousands of Cambodian students set the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh on fire on Wednesday, angry about remarks apparently mistakenly ascribed to a Thai soap star about Angkor Wat temple, Cambodia's top cultural icon.

    Flames engulfed much of the embassy building in downtown Phnom Penh as the mob ran freely around the compound, making bonfires of furniture and motorcycles, a Reuters reporter at the scene said. There was no immediate word if anyone was inside the embassy or of any injuries.

    After a day of flag-burning and anti-Thai chanting which played on the inherent distrust most Cambodians feel toward their larger southeast Asian neighbor, the crowd massed outside the embassy toward nightfall.

    Some 50 protesters climbed the embassy walls and threw rocks into the compound, smashing at least four windows, before the arson attack.

    "The protest is because we hate the Thais inside Cambodia and because the Thais encroach on Cambodian border territory," said Virak, an 18-year-old law student.

    Others in the flag-waving crowd said that after the embassy, they would move on to attack Thai-owed businesses in the Cambodian capital, including a telecoms company owned by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinowatra.

    Scores of military police assembled to try to disperse the protesters but they were outnumbered by the crowd. Five fire trucks, some with smashed windows, were parked at some distance from the embassy because they could not approach the blaze.

    "I am taking action to try and disperse them. We have the military, we have the police, but we just don't know what to do about them," senior police official Moung Khim told Reuters.

    After decades of civil war, Cambodia has enjoyed several years of peace and stability, although with a general election due in July this year, simmering tensions are starting to re-emerge.

    Meanwhile the woman at the center of the storm, popular Thai actress Suwanna "Kob" Konying, denied she had ever made the offending remark -- that she would not go to Cambodia unless the 800-year-old Angkor Wat temple was returned to Thailand.

    Wednesday's edition of the Bangkok Post quoted her as saying the comments, reported in Cambodian newspapers, had been taken completely out of context, as they appeared to come from a line one of her characters uttered in a television drama which aired two years ago.

    "I have never given an interview on Cambodia," Suwanna was quoted as saying. "I am not prejudiced against Cambodia or Cambodian people. I am sorry those allegations hurt so many people."

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    Thais running for lives from mob attacks by Cambodians

    The Nation, Published on Jan 29, 2003



    Thai nationals residing in Phnom Penh were running for their lives as Cambodian mob expanded their attacks on the Thai Embassy to Thai-owned businesses, including Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Shin Corp building and Samart Corp, eyewitness and news report said.

    A Thai worker, who asked not to be named, said mob had entered the Shin Corp building and looted the premises, removing office furniture and setting it on fire.

    "Most Thais in Phnom Penh have shut themselves in their apartments or gone into hiding," she said. "But we constantly keep in touch by telephone."

    The woman said she and her colleagues went to work as usual yesterday and did not expect the angry protest by Cambodians to suddenly escalate to the point where the protesters actually broke into the Thai embassy and set it ablaze.

    "We don't understand how it happened. Many Cambodians are also confused as to what actually triggered such a violent outburst," she said.

    The woman said rumours had been circulating among Thai nationals in Phnom Penh that the Thai government was planning to send aeroplanes to evacuate Thai nationals from Cambodia if the situation continued to deteriorate.

    Meanwhile, a mob of about 1,000 dispersed briefly when the shots were fired but regrouped to hurl stones at about 200 armed Cambodian policemen. It was not immediately clear if any demonstrators or policemen were injured.

    Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai told reporters last night that 10 Thai embassy staff in Phnom Penh were all safe.

    PHNOM PENH, Jan 29 (The Nation) - "All Thai embassy staff are safe after they escaped to the nearby Japanese embassy," he said.

    But as The Nation went to press last night, reports from Cambodia stated a group of Cambodian mob had broken and looted the lobby of the Royal Phnom Penh Hotel where four Thai diplomats and unspecified number ofThai nationals were taking refuge.

    Commerce minister Adisai Bothamarik, who arrived in Cambodia for trade negotiations in the afternoon, was told to return to Bangkok shortly after the delegation landed.

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    Cambodian students burn a Thai flag outside the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh on January 29, 2003. Cambodian military police fired shots in the air on Wednesday to disperse thousands of students who set the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh on fire, witnesses said. Flames engulfed much of the embassy building as the mob ran amok in the embassy compound, making bonfires of furniture and motorcycles, a Reuters reporter at the scene said. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea



    Cambodian students burn a flag and cars outside the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh on January 29, 2003. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

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    Cambodians destroy a picture of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej outside the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea



    Cambodian students burn furniture outside the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh on January 29, 2003. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea



    Cambodian students bang on the gate of the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea



    Cambodian police disperse rioting students outside the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh on January 29, 2003. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

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    Anti-Thai riots spread in Cambodia, police open fire

    Reuters, 29 Jan 2003 15:47

    By Ek Madra

    PHNOM PENH, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Cambodian military police fired shots in the air on Wednesday and put armoured vehicles on the streets of the capital after a nationalist mob torched the Thai embassy and attacked Thai businesses, witnesses said.

    Flames engulfed much of the embassy building as the mob ran amok in the compound, making bonfires of furniture and motorcycles, a Reuters reporter at the scene said.

    The Thai ambassador to Phnom Penh, speaking by telephone to a Thai television station, said he and other staff had climbed over the wall of the embassy to escape. Foreign Ministry officials in Bangkok said all 10 embassy staffers were safe.

    Elsewhere in the capital, angry crowds set fire to overturned cars and attacked Thai-owned and other foreign businesses into the night.

    One property targeted was the Royal Phnom Penh, an international class hotel said by locals to be Thai-owned, which a mob set alight and looted, witnesses said.

    Later, armoured personnel carriers were seen on Phnom Penh's streets.

    Cambodian police said several officers had been slightly injured in scuffles but there were no immediate reports of serious casualties.

    Thailand said it was prepared to evacuate its nationals from its neighbour if the situation worsened. Thai Airways suspended flights to Cambodia.

    The riots were sparked by remarks reportedly made by a popular Thai actress that Angkor Wat temple, Cambodia's top cultural icon, belonged to Thailand. The actress, Suwanna "Kob" Konying, has denied making the comments.

    DISMAY

    Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra expressed dismay at the damage to his nation's embassy and at one point offered to send troops to help the Cambodian authorities restore order.

    "If the Cambodian government cannot control the situation, we have to protect the lives of our people," Thaksin told Reuters in Bangkok.

    "Our ambassador has reported that the situation is (under) control so we are not sending our commandos in there. But we still have on standby a C-130 ready to evacuate our people."

    Thaksin said he had spoken to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen who had apologised for the attack on the embassy and assured him he would act to calm the situation.

    A Thai Airways spokeswoman told Reuters the Thai national carrier was suspending flights to Cambodia with immediate effect.

    She said the airline would close its offices and stop its two daily flights to the Cambodian capital until the situation calmed down. The majority of tourists visiting Cambodia, famed for its Angkor Wat temple complex, fly via Bangkok.

    After a day of flag-burning and anti-Thai chanting which played on the inherent distrust most Cambodians feel towards their larger and richer southeast Asian neighbour, the crowd massed outside the embassy towards nightfall.

    Some 50 protesters climbed the embassy walls and threw rocks into the compound, smashing at least four windows, before the arson attack.

    "The protest is because we hate the Thais inside Cambodia and because the Thais encroach on Cambodian border territory," said Virak, an 18-year-old law student.

    Scores of military police assembled to try to disperse the protesters but they were outnumbered by the crowd. Five fire trucks, some with smashed windows, were parked at some distance from the embassy because they could not approach the blaze.

    REINFORCEMENTS

    "I am taking action to try and disperse them. We have the military, we have the police, but we just don't know what to do about them," senior police official Moung Khim told Reuters.

    Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh told a Thai television station he was gradually sending in more troops into the city to cope with the rioting.

    "We have had to call in big reinforcements to every area because police could not control the situation," he said. "There are stand-offs now at so many places."

    After decades of civil war, Cambodia has enjoyed several years of peace and stability, although with a general election due in July, simmering tensions are starting to re-emerge.

    Meanwhile the woman at the centre of the storm, popular soap star Suwanna, denied she had ever made the offending remark -- that she would not go to Cambodia unless the 800-year-old Angkor Wat complex was returned to Thailand.

    The Bangkok Post quoted her as saying the comments, reported in Cambodian newspapers, had been taken out of context, as they appeared to come from a line one of her characters uttered in a television drama which aired two years ago.

    "I have never given an interview on Cambodia," Suwanna was quoted as saying. "I am not prejudiced against Cambodia or Cambodian people. I am sorry those allegations hurt so many people." (Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat in Bangkok)

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    sad

    WHY?!?!

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    Thai Airways Suspends Flights To Cambodia Until Feb 3
    Thursday January 30, 4:51 PM

    BANGKOK (Dow Jones)--Thai Airways International PCL (H.TAI) said Thursday it has temporarily suspended flights to neighboring Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh and closed its offices there, to ensure the safety of passengers and aircraft alike.
    The national carrier said the flight suspension and office closure will last until at least Feb. 3.

    The airline suspended the flights after a day of unprecedented anti-Thailand riots in Phnom Penh late Wednesday during which a 1,000-strong mob torched part of the Thai embassy, and roving gangs attacked Thai-owned businesses including a Thai Airways office.

    Early Thursday, the Thai military flew five C-130 transport planes to Phnom Penh to evacuate 511 Thais who had gathered at the airport. Among those evacuated were seven injured people and about 10 officials and diplomats from the embassy.

    Thai Airways said the flight suspension affected the two daily return flights - one in the morning and another in the evening - that it operates between Bangkok and Phnom Penh.

    Bangkok Airways, Thailand's largest privately-owned airline, also announced a suspension of its flights to Phnom Penh following the incidents.

    The carrier "has temporarily canceled all four (daily) return flights from Bangkok to Phnom Penh, and four flights between the Cambodian capital and Siem Reap," Bangkok Airways spokeswoman Nandhika Varavarn said in a statement. She provided no timeframe for the suspension.

    Bangkok Airways added that its flights between Bangkok and Siem Reap, the city near the historical site of Angkor Wat, were operating as normal.

    The airline said it has offered transport back to Bangkok for Thai nationals stranded in Siem Reap.

    Bangkok Airways has also temporarily closed its Phnom Penh office, repatriated its employees and has started to assess the extent of the damages to its property.

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    Motive behind Cambodia anti-Thai riots a mystery

    30 Jan 2003 07:09
    By Ed Cropley

    PHNOM PENH, Jan 30 (Reuters) - A wave of anti-Thai riots that engulfed the Cambodian capital appeared on Thursday to have came out of nowhere and -- for the moment at least -- appeared to be without any clear intent other than naked mob nationalism.

    The original spark seems to have been remarks, subsequently denied, by a Thai soap opera star that Cambodia's national symbol, the 800-year-old Angkor Wat temples, belong to Thailand.

    Reigniting centuries of animosity between the two fiercely proud Southeast Asian nations, mobs burnt Thai flags before torching the embassy and Thai-owned businesses on Wednesday night.

    Foreign diplomats said with a general election due in July this year, it would be easy to point the finger at dirty political manoeuvring, although there appeared to be little logic to this argument as there were no obvious winners.

    "We've been trying to work out how it could have happened quite so quickly without some kind of orchestration," one diplomat said.

    "But I've been trying to puzzle it out and just cannot work out who stands to gain from all this. There is no real plus side to anybody out of all this."

    As police pored through the charred wreckage of the Thai embassy and set up blockades around the burning remains of Thai businesses, some senior Cambodian private sector workers pointed to the possibility of rival business involvement.

    But again, even though many Thai firms, including Cambodia Shinawatra, a telecoms company set up by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, are competing in the Cambodian market, the overall damage to the Cambodian economy will harm everybody and set the newly peaceful country's development back years.

    "I have absolutely no idea where all this came from," one senior Cambodian aid worker told Reuters. "None of this makes any sense."

    In recent years Cambodia's eastern neighbour, Vietnam, has been the target of sporadic nationalist anger while relations with Thailand have been largely stable.

    Analysts said investors had already been wary about moving into Cambodia because of the political risk around the forthcoming elections. The riots just compounded worst fears.

    "Any time there is violence in Cambodia, all business dries up. After the coup in 1997, everything collapsed. Investors will just see it as an anomaly with a continuing cycle of violence," said Tim Smyth, head of Indochina Research, one of the region's largest market research companies.

    ECONOMIC DAMAGE

    On Thursday Thailand suspended with immediate effect all technical and economic cooperation with its eastern neighbour, blaming Phnom Penh for allowing the rioting and destruction of its embassy and Thai businesses.

    Thailand and Cambodia are members of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations and the regional grouping has made a top priority of improving economic links between the countries straddling the Mekong River.

    Cambodia is dependent on its larger neighbour for a significant portion of its trade and most Cambodian consumer goods and building materials come from Thailand.

    The students blamed for the rioting were also slightly bemused, having believed wave after wave of wild rumour that Cambodians in Thailand, a historic enemy, were coming under attack.

    "I fight for Cambodia, because here we are nationalists," said Men Sorean, a 27-year-old student. "But at the same time I am sorry because the Cambodian economy is still poor and this event will hurt Cambodia's development."

    The level of hysteria and rumour that engulfed the mob overnight is illustrated by a mobile phone text message circulating the airwaves.

    "We have obligation to protect our culture and our country. Stop using Thai products, watching Thai movies, exhibiting Thai pictures, please forward to friends. OK?", it read. (Additional reporting by Dan Eaton in Bangkok)

  10. #10
    tanios Guest

    with love

    shame on the cambodian goverment and their student for burning the thai flag if they consider themselfes a buddist thats not what buddha has thought by teatching the meaning of love and peace


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