More than two dozen Cambodian men detained by Lao authorities last Thursday near Stung Treng province are still awaiting release, officials confirmed yesterday.
Provincial deputy police chief Ek Sivandon said yesterday that Stung Treng authorities were negotiating with their Lao counterparts for the release of the 28 men who were arrested for crossing the border illegally.
The men were caught in Laos’ Champasak province, about four kilometres inside the country, Ek Sivandon said.
Stung Treng governor Loy Sophat confirmed that provincial authorities were in discussion with Laos to release the captured men.
“Our border soldiers are coordinating with Laos, but we do not know when they will allow them to come home,” he said, adding that their quick release would not be an easy task.
Hou Sam Ol, provincial monitor for Adhoc, said the detained villagers likely entered Lao territory for logging purposes. About 70 per cent of the citizens in Siem Pang district, he claimed, log illegally.
“Kranhong [an expensive type of timber] has been rapidly disappearing in Stung Treng, so villagers take risks and cross the border in order to log,” he said.