Thailand has insisted it has “solid evidence” that it will present to the international community proving that three men detained in Sisaket province last week were spies, a claim Cambodian officials once again dismissed yesterday.
Ung Kimthai, a 46-year-old Cambodian national, was arrested by Thai officials on Tuesday last week with two others, nationals from Thailand and Vietnam, on suspicion of espionage. Allegations of drunk driving for the Thai national and drug use for Ung Kimthai have also been raised.
While Cambodian authorities have reacted strongly against the claim, which they called a “deceitful fabrication” designed to provide cover for future aggression, Thai caretaker Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said authorities had “solid” evidence to back up the allegations, the Bangkok Post reported yesterday.
Abhisit said Cambodian officials had contacted Thailand to secure the release of the three men, the newspaper reported.
“If it is fabrication, why did Cambodia try to contact us for help in obtaining their release?” Abhisit was quoted as saying.
“The information is solid enough and will also be presented to the international community.”
Thai police reportedly said the three men had been carrying maps with military bases marked on them at the time of their arrest.
Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Cambodia continues to deny the allegation of espionage, and that Ung Kimthai had entered Thailand merely as a tourist.
“This case is a fake,” he said. “We have asked [Thailand] for a deeper investigation.”
Koy Kuong added that Thailand was using the incident as a ploy to distract attention away from its own aggressive ambitions.
“Thailand cannot use a small thing like a mosquito that they made up to hide their huge sky of ambitions for aggression,” he charged.
Yesterday, Thailand’s new ambassador to Cambodia, Sampong Nanguanbun, met with Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Eang Sophalleth, a personal assistant to Hun Sen, said Sampong had informed the premier in the meeting that his mission was to expand cooperation across all fields between the two countries.
Hun Sen, Eang Sophalleth said, told the new envoy that despite the border dispute, he considered the two countries to be inseparable, like “teeth and tongue”, and expressed optimism over the relationship, noting that bilateral trade was continuing.
“What we should do is try to find a resolution through all mechanisms in the interest of the people,” Eang Sophalleth quoted Hun Sen as saying.