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Thailand Asks New Zealand To Clarify Status of Thai Exiles

Thailand’s military government has asked New Zealand authorities to confirm whether a 23-year-old Thai charged with lese majeste has been granted asylum there.

nzasSek Wannamethee, spokesperson of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), said he summoned the Charge d’Affaires of the New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok to seek clarification about a Ekapop Luara’s claim that he and his partner have been granted political asylum in New Zealand.

Ekapop, 23, was charged with insulting the Thai monarchy for a speech he made at a Redshirt rally in late 2013. He is believed to have fled Thailand shortly after the military seized power from the elected government on 22 May 2014.

Last month Ekapop claimed on his Facebook account that he and his girlfriend were granted asylum in New Zealand. He also posted a photo of a New Zealand passport that he said was given to him by New Zealand authorities, and wrote that he had been hiding in Cambodia and the Philippines prior to New Zealand.

“The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its deep concern over the matter to the New Zealand representatives,” MFA spokesperson Sek told reporters yesterday. “Mr. Ekapop is using his status granted by the New Zealand government to engage in political matters that affect the national security of Thailand, at a time when Thailand is moving forward and seeking a national reconciliation.”

Full Story here – Khaosod English

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