Court officials say 3 Thais still in detention

Court officials in Siem Reap province said yesterday that there were no plans to release three Thai nationals detained last week in Oddar Meanchey province, despite a Thai media report that the trio were set to be released yesterday.

The three Thai men were reportedly arrested on Aug 18 after traveling 300 meters past the Thai border. The trio, who said they had been hunting, were charged Friday with illegal weapons use and illegal entry by Siem Reap Provincial Court.

The charges together carry maximum penalties of five and a half years. The men were allegedly in possession of makeshift weapons when they were arrested.

Sok Leang, the court’s acting president, said yesterday that the court had not received any request for the release of Sanong Vong Charoeun, 36, Lim Houngphet, 39, and Ren Sabsy, 53.

“The three Thai men are still in pretrial detention. We did not get any letter for negotiation for the release of the men,” Judge Leang said. “We sent the report on the three Thai men to the Ministry of Justice. Now we are waiting for any new orders from the ministry.”

Provincial prosecutor Ty Sovannthal also said yesterday there were no plans for release. He said Friday that their prosecutions would not be subject to negotiations.

Officials at the Ministry of Justice said yesterday that they had not seen the report from the court and could not say what action might be taken.

“I have not learned about the case yet or about any request for negotiation from the Thai side,” said Sam Pracheameanith, the ministry’s Cabinet chief.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said the only information he had on the case was from media reports.

According to the Thai News Agency, Somkiart Sangkhaosutthirak, deputy governor of Thailand’s Surin province, said yesterday that Cambodian authorities would hand over the trio to Thai authorities yesterday afternoon.

“Their release was secured after negotiations between the Thai and Cambodian authorities,” TNA reported, adding that “senior Thai officials said the trio are not spies.”

(Additional reporting by Clancy McGilligan)


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