A Change of Guard

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Saturday 30 June 2012

Cambodia Ambiguous on Plans for French Architect

French architect Devillers 'holding funds' for Bo Xilai
Gu Kailai with Patrick Devillers Photo: REX FEATURES

The New York Times
Published: June 22, 2012

HONG KONG Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry said Friday that the country had no plans to extradite to China or France a detained French architect with links to a disgraced Chinese politician and his wife, but that the architect was not yet being set free, either. 
Koy Kuong, a spokesman for the Cambodian Foreign Ministry, said that he did not know how long the architect, Patrick Devillers, would be held, nor why he was being held.
Hor Nahong, Cambodia’s foreign minister, said late Thursday night that Mr. Devillers was still being investigated. The police in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, said earlier in the week that Mr. Devillers had been arrested about two weeks ago at China’s request. Chinese government offices were closed on Friday in observance of a national holiday, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry declined earlier in the week to comment on Mr. Devillers.
The French Embassy in Phnom Penh had no immediate comment.
Under Cambodia’s extradition agreement with China, the Chinese government has up to 60 days after Mr. Devillers’s detention to provide legal documents to support any extradition request. The agreement, one of only a handful that Cambodia has concluded with any country, allows the extradition of foreigners who are not citizens of either Cambodia or China.
The immigration police in Phnom Penh said that they were holding Mr. Devillers near the airport, but declined to comment further on his case.
Mr. Devillers has been linked to Bo Xilai, a powerful Chinese politician until he was removed as Communist Party secretary of Chongqing and suspended from the party’s Politburo, and to Mr. Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai. Ms. Gu is being investigated on suspicion of involvement in the killing of a British businessman, Neil Heywood, who had reportedly been engaged in international financial transactions on Ms. Gu’s behalf.
When Mr. Bo was mayor of Dalian in the 1990s, Mr. Devillers helped him rebuild the city. Mr. Devillers also started a company with Ms. Gu in Britain in 2000, although the company appears to have done very little. Mr. Devillers used the address of Ms. Gu’s law firm in Beijing when he and his father set up a real estate company in Luxembourg in 2006, right after the younger Mr. Devillers left China and shortly before he moved to Cambodia.
Mr. Devillers denied in an e-mail last month that he had been engaged in any illegal financial transactions.
Mr. Devillers comes across in person as a gentle, low-key artist with little interest in money. Until his arrest, he lived in a rented, two-story house on a narrow lot in downtown Phnom Penh.
The house was sparsely furnished with heavy wood furniture that was fairly new but designed to resemble antiques. One of his few small luxuries was an espresso maker using prepackaged cups of ground coffee, which he was quick to offer visitors.
Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a specialist in French-Chinese relations at Hong Kong Baptist University, had predicted on Wednesday that Cambodia would not hand Mr. Devillers over to China, even though China is now the largest aid donor to Cambodia.
“Although China may be able to put more money on the table, the Cambodian elites are still closely linked both personally, financially — their money is there — and emotionally to France,” Mr. Cabestan wrote in an e-mail. “So my conclusion is that Cambodia will probably not honor China’s request.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do the right thing you stupid Cpp dumb pigs!!! Send this guy to his ambassador (France) Cambodia has no jurisdiction over another citizen.China knew that too!!! Send him back to his home country,let China deals with France.