Home > World News > Thai FM fails to free Thais detained in Cambodia

Thai FM fails to free Thais detained in Cambodia

BANGKOK, Dec 31 — Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya
failed to achieve the release of a Thai Democrat MP and six other people
detained by Cambodian authorities for alleged trespass on the territory
of the neighbouring country.

Mr Kasit made an urgent visit to Phnom Penh for talks with his
counterpart, Hor Namhong, on securing the release of the seven on
Thursday afternoon and returned empty-handed in the evening.

The Thai foreign Minister said upon returning from Phnom Penh that he
tried to tell his Cambodian counterpart that the seven had strayed into
the Cambodian territory during inspection of the border areas after
receiving a petition from Thai villagers along the border.

Mr  Kasit admitted to Hor Namhong that the seven Thai unintentionally crossed into the Cambodian area for 1,200 metres.

However, he failed to secure the release of the seven Thais who were
charged by the Phnom Penn Municipal Court with illegal entry and
illegally entering a military base along the border, crimes carrying
penalties of up to six months and one year, respectively.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to press ahead with charges
against the Thais, and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong reportedly said
after his meeting with Mr Kasit that he had said there would be “no
release” of the Thais just yet.

“Let the court continue with the legal procedure as normal, the government cannot do anything,” he said.

“We respect the judiciary of Cambodia. We have asked the government to
complete the case as soon as possible as the charges were not severed
crime,” said Mr Kasit.

Reportedly having visited the seven Thais detained at Prey Sar prison on
the outskirts of the Khmer capital, Mr Kasit vowed to give full
assistance to them. Initially, the ministry has retained a lawyer for
them.

Panich Vikitsreth of the ruling Democrat Party was arrested along with
six others on Wednesday in Cambodia’s Banteay Meanchey province, along
the western border with Thailand.

The seven detained Thais, including Democrat Party member of parliament
Panich Vikitsreth and members of the so-called ‘Yellow Shirt’ Peoples
Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protest movement, were apprehended by
Cambodian troops on Wednesday while they inspected the border areas near
Cambodian Banteay Meanchey province, not far from the western part of
the border with Thailand. (MCOT online news)

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