Two men were released from custody yesterday after being arrested on Monday for allegedly smuggling over 5,000 Thai firecrackers inside coffee boxes from Thailand, Military Police said yesterday.
Hai Vannara, Banlung town Military Police commander, whose officers helped intercept the smugglers’ truck, identified the men as But Samnang, 30, driver and owner of the vehicle, and Seng Pav, 28, a passenger. He added that all firecrackers are banned without permission from local authorities.
Huot Borei, Banlung town police chief, said the pair was released at the recommendation of Ratanakkiri Prosecutor Chea Pich after they agreed to give information about the owner of the firecrackers. “They are not the owners of the goods and they are just taxi drivers . . . hired to transport the goods,” he said, noting the goods “were ordered by one vendor in Banlung town in order to sell them”.
Authorities will now investigate if there is any connection between the Banlung vendor and the truck – also loaded with Thai firecrackers – that exploded in September in Banteay Meanchey, killing three on board and injuring three bystanders, as well as to the case of a Kampong Thom boy injured by firecrackers in October.