ALLEGED “bombmaking materials” confiscated by the Thai Army on Saturday were in actuality ordinary supplies being ferried by a group of Cambodian children working as porters on the Thai-Cambodian border, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said Monday.
On Saturday, 207 Cambodian migrant labourers were detained in Thailand’s Prachinburi province for several hours after Thai soldiers who stopped them near the border discovered a luggage cart carrying spikes and pressurised gas cans inside fertiliser bags. Koy Kuong said all 207 members of the group were Cham Muslims, and added that he did not believe the confiscated materials were meant to be used for explosives.
“We don’t believe it’s for the explosives – just only the ordinary materials,” Koy Kuong said.
Chan Wongwaimethee, commander of Thai Army Ranger Company 1206, told Thailand’s The Nation newspaper on Saturday that the group, bound for factory jobs in the Thai South, might have been attempting to transport the materials to Muslim insurgents in Thailand’s restive southern provinces.
Koy Kuong said that after assistance from Cambodian consular officials, all 207 members of the group had been cleared of wrongdoing and released to their employer in Thailand. The children toting the cart, he added, were residents of the border region who escaped as Thai troops rounded up the migrant workers.
“They were employed to pull the cart with the luggage crossing the border,” Koy Kuong said.
Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said Monday that he had not received any information on the case.