Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thais free seven loggers after two years in prison

Thais free seven loggers after two years in prison

Thais free seven loggers after two years in prison

SEVEN Cambodian villagers from Oddar Meanchey province were released from prison in Thailand on Saturday after being held in detention for nearly two years without trial, a provincial official said Monday.

Touch Ra, chief of the Cambodia-Thailand relations office at the Chom International Border Gate in Oddar Meanchey, said the seven men were among a group of 20 who were captured by Thai soldiers in May 2008 while logging illegally in the Dangrek Mountains in Thailand’s Sisaket province.

“They have been detained in prison without any trial for two years,” Touch Ra said. “They had been jailed since they were arrested, and after they were dropped off by Thai authorities, we allowed them to go back home.”

Touch Ra added that the men, aged between 21 and 36 years, hailed from Oddar Meanchey’s Trapaing Prasat district, and had not revealed whether they entered Thailand independently or at the behest of a timber dealer. Government officials say they have staged a crackdown on the illegal-logging business in recent months in response to an order from Prime Minister Hun Sen, who sacked Forestry Administration director Ty Sokun earlier this month for failing to effectively deal with the problem.Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong could not be reached for comment. Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi declined to comment, saying he had not received information about the case.

Loggers entering Thailand from border towns in Oddar Meanchey are frequently involved in confrontations with the Thai military. According to a report released in February by the local rights group Adhoc, at least 20 Cambodian civilians have been shot and killed by Thai soldiers near the border since the beginning of 2008. Thai officials have disputed the report’s findings.

Among the Cambodian loggers who have been arrested in Thai territory, 16 who were apprehended together last year received prison sentences of between six and nine years in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani Provincial Court in September.

In February, Thailand’s Surin Provincial Court sentenced six Cambodians to 27-month terms in a case in which Cambodian officials said they had been prevented from providing lawyers to defend the loggers by a last-minute change of schedule.


  • Thy Sovantha threatens new suit

    Social media celebrity and card-carrying CPP member Thy Sovantha yesterday said she will file a lawsuit against wildlife NGO head Suwanna Gauntlett alleging discrimination after the latter allegedly denied her access to an ecotourism program the group is launching today in Koh Kong province. The

  • Police raid Siem Reap party, arrest 10 foreigners over ‘pornographic’ images

    A group of 10 foreign tourists appeared in court today after being arrested for producing “pornographic” photos in Siem Reap town on Thursday, while dozens more were detained temporarily and let go after being lectured on their behaviour, according to authorities. A report posted to the

  • Hun Sen’s in-law removed from RCAF after cockfighting rings raided

    Thai Phany, the nephew-in-law of Prime Minister Hun Sen who is accused of running two large cockfighting rings, has been removed as a general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Phany, formerly a one-star brigadier general, was removed by royal decree on December 19, according to

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially