The political activist posted an image of his Paris-Bangkok flight ticket on Twitter. However, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha reacted by saying he would not be allowed entry en route to Cambodia.
Cambodian opposition party founder Sam Rainsy vowed on Wednesday to return to his homeland to head protests against the one-party rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen, whom he described as "a brutal dictator."
Rainsy, who is due to arrive on Saturday, said he plans to lead a "people-power" movement to usurp longtime PM Hun Sen, but the Cambodian government has said this would be tantamount to a coup attempt. Officials said Cambodia National Rescue Movement (CNRP) leaders would be arrested upon arrival. The CNRP was dissolved in November 2017 by the Southeast Asian country's Supreme Court.
Determined to return
Rainsy appeared undeterred as he posted a video message on Twitter. "For those of you who know me, this may just be the last time you will see me alive as a free man," he said.
He also tweeted a photo of his plane ticket from Paris to Bangkok but this drew short shrift from Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
When asked by reporters about Sam Rainsy, Prayuth said: "According to our commitment to ASEAN, we will not allow an anti-government person to use Thailand for activism. I have ordered this, so he probably won't get in."
Rainsy escaped to France four years ago after being found guilty of criminal defamation.
He says he has done nothing wrong, citing politically motivated reasons for the charges.
jsi/aw (Reuters, AFP, dpa)