Home > Local News > Court Slaps 2 Thais with Spying Charge

Court Slaps 2 Thais with Spying Charge

The seven Thai suspects arrested for trespassing into Cambodia have
plunged deeper into trouble as two of them have been slapped with an
additional charge of espionage.

Under the new charge,
Veera Somkwamkid, a coordinator of the Thai Patriots Network, a
splinter group of the yellow shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy
(PAD), and Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, identified as Mr Veera’s secretary,
could face between five and 10 years in jail if found guilty.
The two were additionally charged with “collecting information which
might damage Cambodia’s national security”, according to Phnom Penh
Municipal Court officials.
The two are among the group of seven Thais arrested by Cambodian
soldiers on Dec 29 last year, which included Democrat MP Panich
Vikitsreth, when they entered a disputed area claimed by Cambodia near
Nong Jan village in Sa Kaeo’s Aranyaprathet district adjacent to
Cambodia’s Banteay Meanchey province.
The Cambodian court earlier charged them with illegal entry and trespassing on a military area.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen strongly reaffirmed yesterday his
government’s position to allow the Cambodian judicial process to take
its course.
The Phnom Penh Post quoted Hun Sen as saying that the Thai
parliamentarian and six other Thais arrested on trespassing charges
will have to serve at least two-thirds of their jail sentences if
“Nobody, not even the United Nations or former Thai prime minister
Thaksin [Shinawatra], could interfere in the Cambodian judicial process
for an immediate release for them,” Hun Sen said via the Bayon
television station.
“We will talk about this further when the court has completed its
procedure, but the law is the law, the court is the court, and the
government cannot influence or order the court to do this or that for a
political compromise.”
If found guilty of the charges against them, the seven could file an appeal within 30 days.
Hun Sen said that on the night of Dec 29, Thai Foreign Minister
Kasit Piromya called him about 10 times but he did not answer the phone.
The Foreign Ministry yesterday submitted bail requests for the seven Thai detainees with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said the court would make a decision on bail within five days.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday called an urgent meeting
with Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, Defence Minister Prawit
Wongsuwon and Mr Kasit to discuss ways to help get the seven Thais
“We are looking at trends in the case. Our goal is to help them to
be released and our sovereignty must not be violated,” said Mr Abhisit.
Meanwhile, Chaiwat Sinsuwong, a leader of the Thai Patriots Network,
said the Thai embassy in Cambodia had tried to bar the network’s legal
team from meeting the seven Thais. This could affect their court
defence and consequently deprive them of an opportunity to return to
He said the network had also petitioned the UN asking it to intervene.
“We will not accept the Cambodian court’s ruling as the court
procedures are not in line with the fourth Geneva Convention,” he said.
Supreme Commander Songkitti Jaggabatara yesterday denied Cambodian
media reports that Thai soldiers had shot at Cambodians along the
border, saying the troops only fired in response to gangs who sneaked
into Thailand to fell trees and then opened fire on the soldiers when
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