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Homeward bound: Loggers head back from Laos captivity

Homeward bound: Loggers head back from Laos captivity

Seven Cambodians arrested for illegally logging in Laos’ Champasak district were released yesterday in exchange for US$300 each, Stung Treng provincial officials reported, but 14 Cambodians still remain in custody.

Six of the released loggers were arrested earlier this month, on March 7, Ek Sivandorn, provincial deputy police commissioner, said, while one was arrested in a separate case in February.

“Their [the released loggers’] families spent $300 for each to cover food and transportation expenses during their detention in Champasak province,” the police commissioner said, noting that this amount was lower than that paid by families in previous cases.

“The ransom rate to release Cambodians from Laos is dependent on the transportation fee and actual duration of detention in Laos territory,” Ek Sivandorn explained.

The police commissioner added that 14 Cambodians arrested in 2011 for illegally entering Lao territory were still detained, though he did not provide a timeline for their release.

Senior investigator for Adhoc Chan Soveth said two Cambodians were shot while illegally entering Laos in 2011.

“Lao authorities still fire at Cambodians, but less than Thailand does. Both countries should punish those who illegally enter their territory or commit crimes, but they should not fire at them like the are animals.”

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