Home > Local News > Cambodia frees three Thais after Thai foreign minister’s visit

Cambodia frees three Thais after Thai foreign minister’s visit

Prime Minister Hun Sen greets Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya at the Council of Ministers yesterday.Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Three Thai nationals jailed on immigration charges are set to walk free
after receiving a royal pardon from King Norodom Sihamoni.

On
December 9, Siem Reap provincial court convicted the three men of
illegal entry and unlawful possession of weapons, sentencing them each
to 18 months in jail.

Sanong Wongcharoen, 36, Lim Puangpet, 39,
and Lan Sapsri, 53 – all from Surin province’s Sangkhla district – were
arrested on August 18 by authorities in Oddar Meanchey province.

Their
reprieve came after a meeting in Phnom Penh between Prime Minister Hun
Sen and Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya on Monday.

Heng
Hak, director general of the Department of Prisons at the Ministry of
Interior, said the three men had been released into the custody of
visiting Thai officials, in accordance with a pardon signed by the
King.

“We picked them up from Siem Reap [and brought them] to Phnom Penh this morning,” Heng Hak said.

The Bangkok Post
quoted Kasit as saying after the meeting that the three men were
expected to return to Thailand on Tuesday, accompanied by Thai army
chief Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Kasit, who arrived in Phnom Penh for a two-day visit on Sunday, also met with his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong on Monday.

New migrant regulations

Following
the meeting, Hor Namhong told reporters that Thailand had agreed to
reopen until 2012 a registration process for migrant labourers that
will allow tens of thousands of Cambodian workers now at risk of
deportation to remain in Thailand legally.

The Thai government
had previously set a February 2010 deadline for migrant workers to
apply for a process known as “nationality verification”, which would
allow them to renew their work permits.

As a result, some
43,301 Cambodian migrants who had been working legally but failed to
register for the verification process prior to the deadline faced the
possibility of deportation, according to figures provided by the Human
Rights and Development Foundation, a Bangkok-based rights group.

Cambodian officials estimated that more than 90,000 Cambodian workers had missed the February registration deadline.

More
than 1,000 Cambodian workers were arrested and detained in June for
missing the deadline, after Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva
authorised a crackdown on June 2. Thai officials said in October that
they were considering reopening the registration process because of the
“backlog” of workers who missed the deadline.

Phnom Penh Post
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Categories: Local News
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