Authorities in Thailand arrested 10 Cambodians on Sunday afternoon in the Thai province of Surin for allegedly crossing the border illegally in an attempt to log valuable timber.
Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Koy Kuong said yesterday that three of the arrested were Cambodian soldiers and had already been released. The remaining seven, from Oddar Meanchey province’s Samroang district, are still being detained in Thailand.
“The seven Cambodians have not been transferred to court yet, so it is important to provide them with a lawyer to alleviate their level of punishment,” the spokesman said.
Police chief of Samroang district’s Bansay Reak commune Chhin Sam An said the seven Cambodians being detained were from his commune and the three soldiers were from the Konkriel commune.
He said the group, carrying two rifles, was arrested about one kilometre from the border inside Thailand’s Surin province – where they were allegedly logging timber.
“Thai soldiers did not open fire on them, but just ... caught them inside Surin province,” Chhin Sam An said. He said the release of the three Cambodian soldiers was due to negotiations after the arrest between an unnamed military commander in Samroang town and Thai officials.