During visit from Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, Thailand official says Thailand won't send detained Cambodian activists back home

Three Cambodian activists arrested in Thailand will not be deported to their homeland and will be resettled elsewhere, a deputy police chief said on Wednesday, after human rights groups had raised concern about their fate if sent home.

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International pressure has been building on Hun Manet
, opens new tab to end the crackdown started by his father and predecessor, Hun Sen, the self-styled strongman who virtually wiped out domestic opposition to his ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP).

The activists and their families are recognised as refugees by the United Nations and were arrested last week for immigration violations days before Hun Manet's visit.
The arrests follow a series of deportations from Thailand in the past few years of critics of the CPP, which has been in power for nearly four decades.

Thai deputy national police chief Surachate Hakparn told Reuters the detainees would be sent to another country, but not back to Cambodia.
"Right now, the UNHCR is processing the resettlement to third country," he said of the U.N. refugee agency.
"We will definitely not be sending them or their families back to Cambodia."

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin at a joint press conference with Hun Manet said his country would not allow people to perpetrate "harmful activities" against neighbours.
Hun Manet expressed gratitude and said "this forms mutual respect and benefit between our two countries."

Thailand and Cambodia also pledged to strengthen cooperation to fight transnational crimes, especially cyber scam networks, many of which have operated from Cambodia, among other countries in Southeast Asia.
The Western-educated Hun Manet took power last year in a landmark succession from his father, whose nearly four-decade rule was characterised by rapid economic growth and development alongside a stifling of free speech and a long-running campaign to sideline opponents.

The CPP was virtually unopposed for a second successive election last year, with the only viable opposition parties dissolved or barred from running. Hundreds of rivals have been jailed or fled into exile...

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