Cambodian officials have denied a report from Thailand that a trio of suspects, including a Cambodian man arrested earlier this month for allegedly spying on Thai military installations, had confessed their guilt.
The Bangkok Post reported on Saturday that Thai 2nd Army commander Lieutenant-General Thawatchai Samutsakhon had claimed the suspects had “confessed they drew a map of sensitive military areas”.
This alleged revelation, the general said, had prompted the Thai military to make unspecified “changes” to military installations in the area. He declined to provide further details.
But Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Cambodian consular officials had met with the suspects in recent days and the men had continued to deny their guilt.
“This is another fabricat-ion,” Koy Kuong said. “This shows the bad tricks of Thailand against Cambodia – [the suspects] have been malignly accused.”
Cambodian national Ung Kimthai, 46, was reportedly apprehended by officials in Thailand’s Sisaket province on June 7, along with a Thai national and a Vietnamese national.
The Bangkok Post reported that Thai police were searching for one more Cambodian in connection with the case.
He was identified as Ya Pao, 48, the “leader” of the alleged spies, the newspaper said.
Tensions between the two sides will play out in coming days in Paris at a meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, at which Thailand will attempt to delay the consideration of Cambodia’s management plan for the Preah Vihear temple.
The Cambodian delegation at that meeting, which began yesterday, will be led by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.
Fighting between the two sides broke out near the 11th-century temple in February of this year, killing 10 people.
It briefly re-ignited in April amid concurrent clashes along the border near Oddar Meanchey province.