In a turn of events reminiscent of last month’s Acleda Bank “hostage” standoff, two Thais originally thought to be kidnapping victims and three Cambodians were sent to court yesterday on preliminary drug charges and charges of illegal detention in Poipet town, military police said.
According to Major General Rath Sreang, commander of the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Military Police, Cambodians Phan Kouy, 29; Yi Channa, 33; and Seng Daniseth, 32, along with two Thai nationals identified only as Abe, 29, and Ami, 31, were sent to the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court yesterday for questioning and official charges after police discovered that the two Thais were allegedly attempting to buy drugs from the three Cambodians, who at one point detained them unlawfully in a hotel room in Poipet.
“When we raided their guesthouse room, first we suspected that these two Thai men were the victims of a kidnapping. But when we questioned the five men, they were not the victims,” he said. “They were people who came to try to buy drugs to sell in Thailand.”
Poipet military police commander Major Ham Muth, speaking figuratively, called it a case of “bad men eating bad men”.
“There is no victim in this case; they all were suspects,” he said.
Muth said that according to information gleaned from the five men, the Thais allegedly crossed into Poipet on Tuesday to gamble and arrange a drug deal. They met with the three Cambodians and asked them to find them 500,000 baht (about $16,800) worth of drugs.
“To guarantee their drug purchase, the three accused Cambodians asked the two Thai men to deposit half of the amount first, but the Thais [only] gave them 100,000 baht,” he added.
In an attempt to get the rest of the money, the Cambodians allegedly held the Thais at their guesthouse from Tuesday afternoon until the room was raided on Wednesday, after a maid at the guesthouse noticed the men were being detained and reported it to a Poipet town military police officer.
Chief prosecutor Phan Vannarath declined to comment on the matter, and the five suspects could not be reached for comment.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at firstname.lastname@example.org