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Thai officials seek release of jailed men

Thai officials seek release of jailed men

THAILAND has moved to secure the release of three Thai men being held in Siem Reap on charges of illegal entry and illegal use of firearms, border officials said.

Touch Ra, deputy chief of the Thai-Cambodian Border Relations Office at the Choam border checkpoint, said he had received a letter from authorities in Thailand’s Surin province yesterday, requesting a compromise to release the three men, who were in detention at Siem Reap provincial prison.

“They asked for a compromise on these men’s case and I will forward this letter to Siem Reap tomorrow [Tuesday],” Touch Ra said. However, he said he could not take action without proper authorisation.

On Wednesday, authorities in Oddar Meanchey province arrested Sanong Wongcharoen, 36, Lim Puangpet, 39, and Lan Sapsri, 53, all from Surin’s Sangkhla district, confiscating homemade guns, lights and batteries. They were sent to Siem Reap provincial court on Friday and were charged with illegal entry and the illegal use of weapons. Touch Ra said that the men were detained about 500 metres inside the Cambodian border.

The Bangkok Post reported on Sunday that Surin provincial governor Rapee Phongbuphakij would negotiate with Cambodian officials yesterday for the men’s release.

Chea Morn, the commander of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Military Region 4, said yesterday that he had not received any request for negotiations from the Thai side.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said that anyone who entered another country had to respect the laws of that country, and that the court would decide the fate of the three men. Ty Soveinthal, deputy prosecutor at Siem Reap provincial court, declined to comment on the case.

In an unrelated case, Koy Kuong said that San Mony Phet, 27, a native from Battambang province arrested during Red Shirt protests that rocked Bangkok in May, remained in custody in Thailand.

He said the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok had provided him with legal representation for his upcoming trial.

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