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More Thais to face coup probe

More Thais to face coup probe

A FURTHER 19 Thais will face investigations regarding their alleged involvement in the failed coup, and the Thai Ambassador to Cambodia says his government is ready to cooperate with the inquiry.

In a press interview on Aug 19 Co-Minister for the Interior You Hockry said the Cambodian government would send a team of investigators to Bangkok at an unspecified date to investigate 19 Thais who were believed to be involved in the failed coup.

The Thai Ambassador to Cambodia Sakthip Krairiksh said his government is ready to cooperate with the team of Cambodian investigators to probe the involvement of the 19 Thais in the coup.

He added: "They [the 19 Thais] have showed a willingness to be questioned on their involvement in the coup, but they have asked that the investigations take place on Thai soil."

Krairiksh said he was informed by the Cambodian government that a total of 33 Thais had been involved in the coup attempt, and that the 19 Thais had fled the country over land and by boat on July 3.

Among the 19 Thais wanted for questioning is former MP and police Lieutenant colonel Adul Boonsert who fled Pochentong airport on July 3 while police were arresting 14 Thais in connection with the coup.

Boonsert left his passport at the immigration counter at the airport.

Another of the 19 is believed to be Thanongsak Surattana who has said that the 14 arrested Thais were employees in his Hi-Tech Communications Company.

On Aug 19 the Cambodian government freed five of the 14 Thais and Krairiksh said the other nine would face trial within the next month.

The ambassador said he was trying to find Thai lawyers to coordinate with Cambodian lawyers to defend the nine detainees.

He added that he had been instructed by the Thai government to find some good and neutral Cambodian lawyers to represent the nine detainees in court.

Hockry said the nine Thais were specialist marksmen and they would be charged with crimes against national security.

The five released Thais were identified as Prayat Phuthong, Buala Prathum, Arun Phookham, Sarot Khunkeaw and Amnat Kaewkaenkoon.

They revealed that during their 45 days of captivity they, along with the nine others, had been kept, each in separate a room, in the Indo-Chine Hotel and the Great New World Guest House.

Ambassador Sakthip said: "I am happy with the release [of the five Thais] and I would like to express my gratitude to the co -ministers for freeing them."

But Krairiksh, when questioned, did not take the opportunity to say the five Thais were innocent of involvement in the coup.

The five were directly handed over to the ambassador at the Royal Thai embassy by Cambodian officials.

They flew to Bangkok on Aug 20 on Cambodia International flight (XE 101) at 10:20 am.

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