Nine Cambodians were arrested in Thailand on Saturday for allegedly sneaking across the border to log valuable trees and are being held in prison, the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced in a statement on Thursday.
It said the nine were caught in separate groups throughout the day in Sisaket province, three of them with nine pieces of valuable rosewood and an unspecified quantity of drugs.
“All nine are being detained in prison in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province and are waiting on the court.
Cambodia’s consular office in Sa Kaeo province is arranging for a lawyer to represent them,” the ministry said.
In a separate statement, it said 10 other Cambodians were arrested in Sa Kaeo on Sunday, also for illegal logging, but were released on Thursday after each paid a fine of 2,500 baht, or about $72.
Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry could not be reached for comment.
Cambodians are regularly caught illegally logging for rosewood in Thailand.
Every year, dozens of them are shot dead by Thai soldiers protecting the border, though reports of
fatal shootings have dropped in recent years.