Rainsy, co-founder of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, told The Associated Press he hopes his planned return Saturday will trigger a People's Power-style movement to force Prime Minister Hun Sen from office.
Sam Rainsy has said he will cross into Cambodia via a land border, as Hun Sen has ordered flights into Phnom Penh not to allow him to board. "I will arrive in Bangkok on Friday November 8 to be ready to enter #Cambodia on Saturday November 9", Rainsy tweeted along with a photo of his airline ticket. "If I can not go to Bangkok I will board another plane for Kuala Lumpur, Jakarata or Singapore". He and several colleagues face charges of armed rebellion for their return plan, which could earn them prison terms of 15-30 years.
Rainsy, who has lived in France since 2015 to avoid jail for convictions he says are politically motivated, has promised a dramatic homecoming on November 9, Cambodia's Independence Day.
Referring to Thailand's ties with Cambodia as a fellow member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) grouping, Prayut said: "According to our commitment to ASEAN, we will not interfere in each other's internal affairs, and we will not allow an anti-government person to use Thailand for activism".More news: Paul George Expected To Debut With Clippers By Nov. 14
Officials have repeatedly warned that if the opposition leaders did make it into Cambodia, they would immediately be arrested.
He added: "I have ordered this, so he probably won't get in".
Cambodia's ambassador to Indonesia on Wednesday had a face-to-face confrontation with a top opposition politician who was holding a news conference at a hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, to explain the returnees' plans.
The former finance minister is also unlikely to be allowed to enter Thailand, which recently turned away the vice president of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party when she flew into Bangkok's main worldwide airport.More news: Italy introduces mandatory climate change lessons in schools
The Cambodian embassy also said that the Malaysian authorities on November 5 arrested two Cambodian activists while they were trying to fly to Bangkok.
Sam Rainsy's party was touted as posing a threat to Hun Sen's ruling Cambodian People's Party in last year's general election, but it was dissolved ahead of the polls by the courts, which are viewed as doing the government's bidding.
"Life is not that long in front of me and I want the young people to enjoy a better life and I am determined to sacrifice my freedom and my life for democracy".More news: Michael Bloomberg to file for Alabama 2020 presidential primary