Myanmar to try Thai detainees for illegal entry next Friday


RANONG, July 20 — Myanmar’s Township Border Committee (TBC) informed its Thai counterpart that the first batch of Thai detainees charged with illegal entry or land encroachment are expected to be tried July 27.

Col Pornsak Poonsawat, commander of a task force of the 25th Infantry Regiment and Thailand’s TBC chairman said that he was informed by his Myanmar counterpart that the investigation and questioning of detained Thai nationals were almost completed and the first group would be brought to court on July 27.

Col Pornsak said they were facing five counts of wrongdoing — illegal entry, forest encroachment and illegal land occupation, growing illicit drug plants including cannabis and kratom, possession of firearms and military weapons and obstruction of official duties.

The group of Thai detainees who were charged with petty offences, particularly illegal entry or forest encroachment without intention,  would be the first batch to go on trial, he said.

The 92 Thai villagers were detained for encroaching into Myanmar territory while they claimed that they were lured by a broker to clear the land beyond the areas authorised by the Myanmar authorities for Thais to use as cultivated areas.

They were being detained in Myanmar’s Koh Song province, opposite Thailand’s border province of Ranong.

Meanwhile, Col Pornsak said that Thai authorities were investigating and verifying a report that five more Thais are being detained in Myanmar.

The arrest reportedly took place after they entered Myanmar territory to collect the belongings of their relatives who had been detained on July 4.