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Thai arrest in smuggling case

Thai authorities inspect mortar launchers smuggled from Cambodia last month
Thai authorities inspect mortar launchers smuggled from Cambodia last month. Photo supplied

Thai arrest in smuggling case

Thai authorities have arrested another man in connection with a shipment of weapons allegedly sold by a Cambodian deminer, according to Thai media reports.

According to the outlet Manager Online, Thai police arrested Phirom Reuourt Chanopat, 50, following the issuance of an arrest warrant on July 25.

The Thai national was arrested in Mae Hong Son province on Thailand’s border with Myanmar, where police last month arrested another man who they accused of ordering the weapons, which included three mortar tubes.

The cache was discovered on July 18 in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province, which borders Cambodia’s Banteay Meanchey province, when Thai police arrested five Thai nationals, who reportedly confessed they bought the weapons from Cambodia.

Subsequent investigation by Cambodian authorities led to the arrest of three men including a staff member of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and two farmers.

The CMAC employee is alleged to have found the cache of old weapons while clearing ordnance and engaged the farmers, who are brothers-in-law, to broker a deal with the Thai smugglers.

The Royal Thai Police’s spokesman was unreachable yesterday, but according to the Manager Online, Phirom has been charged in relation with ordering the seized weapons, as well as two previous shipments.

The outlet reported that Phirom confessed to receiving $150 for each shipment for his alleged role in the operation.

Cambodia’s police have charged the three men detained with weapons trafficking and are hunting for four more who are believed to have helped transport them across the border.

Reached yesterday, Banteay Meanchey Deputy Provincial Police Chief Sith Los said police continued to search for the suspects.

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