Cambodia has repeated its position that it will not extradite a French architect who is under arrest over links to disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai before the case has been fully investigated.
“We are awaiting further investigation,” Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters late on Thursday when asked about Patrick Devillers, whose arrest in Phnom Penh has sparked a diplomatic tug-of-war between Beijing and Paris.
“The decision has been made. We have decided to keep him here, we are not sending anywhere. We won’t send him to either France or China,” he said.
Devillers, a 52-year-old architect, was detained on June 13 for committing unspecified offenses in China, police said, adding that arrest was made at the request of Beijing.
France has asked for “clarification” for the reason for the arrest and Hor Namhong said Cambodia didn’t have any details about the alleged offences yet.
Devillers is understood to have been a close business associate and friend of Bo and his wife Gu Kailai and his arrest is the latest twist in China’s biggest political scandal in decades.
Bo, the former leader of the southwestern Chinese megacity of Chongqing, is being probed for corruption while Gu has been detained for suspected involvement in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood last year.
The scandal surrounding Bo and Gu, which first came to light in February and made worldwide headlines, has exposed deep divisions within the Communist Party ahead of a crucial, once-in-a-decade leadership transition, analysts say.