Immigration Official Arrested in Thailand Over Arms Cache

A Cambodian immigration officer and a Thai military officer were questioned on Monday in Thailand after dozens of guns and grenades, and thousands of rounds of ammunition, were found in a crashed pickup truck, according to a checkpoint official and Thai media reports.

Lean Pisith, a police officer working at the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, was arrested on Saturday in Thailand’s Trat province as he was driving back to Cambodia, said Sovan Bunthoeun, director of the Cham Yeam International Checkpoint in Koh Kong province, which borders Thailand.

Immigration spokesman Keo Vannthan said on Monday he was unaware of the case.

The Bangkok Post reported on Saturday that a Cambodian man driving a Cambodia-registered Toyota Land Cruiser was arrested as he approached the scene of the accident after passing through nearby border checkpoints. The Post did not identify the driver.

Thai authorities had discovered a huge haul of weapons inside the crashed black Isuzu pickup truck with Thai military plates, including 29 AK-47 assault rifles, four 7.62mm machine guns, 4,147 bullets and 53 grenades to be used with launchers, along with a rocket-propelled grenade, the Post reported.

The Thai driver, who was slightly injured, was helped from the badly damaged vehicle, which had ended up in a ditch. He was identified as Flight Sergeant Pakhin Detphong, an air force officer attached to the Internal Security Operations Command in Bangkok, the Post reported. Both the Thai driver and the Cambodian man were taken to a naval paramilitary unit in Khlong Yai district for questioning, the report said.

Captain Samoraphum Jantho, commander of a marine unit in Trat, said the Thai suspect “refused to make a statement about the weapons” and that authorities had yet to determine his destination, according to the Post.

Capt. Jantho told the Post the Cambodian man was involved in the case and Thai authorities would explain more after the suspects were questioned further.

Mr. Bunthoeun, the checkpoint director, said Cambodian and Thai authorities were working together, but Thai officials had not yet offered many details.

“It is still under investigation, so they have not yet informed or provided clear information to us,” he said.

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