Eleven men were released and returned to Cambodia yesterday after spending more than a year in a Thai prison for illegal logging, a border official has said.
Thailand’s Sisaket provincial authorities handed over the 11 men to their counterparts at the Oddar Meanchey Chaom Sangam Checkpoint, said Touch Ra, chief of the working group on Cambodia-Thailand border affairs.
“They were sentenced and jailed for more than a year for illegally crossing and logging rosewood timber in Thai territory,” Ra said.
“The men are from different provinces, including Oddar Meanchey.”
Despite repeated warnings from the authorities, Ra said that the men took a risk and crossed the Thai border through an illegal checkpoint to fell the precious wood.
“They know that it is very dangerous, but they still went. Some of them claimed that they are poor and have no jobs, but some are really not poor and have jobs, yet they still went and logged,” he added.
According to Ra, the 11 men looked healthy upon their return.
They have been sent back to their respective homes after arriving in the country.