Three hunters from Laos were arrested along the border in Stung Treng province on Saturday night, but were set to be returned today after officials said the trio simply lost their way in the forest.
Thong Sy, 26; Sokun Keopasit, 26; and Thaingvong Phen, 50, who hail from Champasak province in Laos, were carrying homemade guns when they were discovered by police in Thala Barivat district’s O’Svay commune at about 10 a.m., according to district police chief Sem Sitha.
“All of them came into the Cambodian forest about 5 km [from the border] for hunting wildlife until they were arrested by O’Svay commune police, but they confessed and said…they lost their way,” he said.
Mr. Sitha said the men were not carrying any dead animals when they were caught, but had their guns and bullets confiscated.
“Now they are in our police station and we have reported to Laotian border police to have them taken back tomorrow,” he said.
The police chief said that officials in Champasak province and Stung Treng province have signed an agreement to send back residents who accidentally cross the border.
“But if they commit crimes such as drug trafficking or illegal logging we will send them to court,” he added.
Cambodian officials have admitted that drug smuggling—particularly of crystal methamphetamine—is a major problem along its border with Laos, and pledged to shut down the route.