PM: Three arrested for border spying will be prosecuted under law

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BANGKOK, June 10 — Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the three men arrested for spying along the Thai-Cambodian border will be prosecuted in accord with the law, but that investigation was needed to determine their motivation. He reaffirmed that the international community to be informed about the incident.

Three men — a Thai, a Vietnamese and a Cambodian — were arrested by the Thai military for spying on this country’s military bases and bunkers for the local population in the border province of Si Sa Ket.

Police in Si Sa Ket’s Kantharalak district and a unit of Special Forces Rangers based in the province arrested the three men, identified as Suchart Muhammad, 32, a Thai national; Ung Kimtai, 43, a Cambodian national, and Nguyen Tengyang, 37, a Vietnamese national.

The three men were detained at Phum Srol village at 5pm on Tuesday as they appeared to be driving systematically to locate Thai military base and bomb shelters for villagers in the province.

Mr Abhisit said that the new case would proceed under the law, but he could not speculate on progress of talks with the Cambodian authorities on exchange of prisoners, to bring back two the Thailand Patriots Network activists jailed in a Khmer prison on espionage charges, saying that the issue should be considered carefully.

A Cambodian court on Feb 1 ruled that Veera Somkwamkid, Thai Patriots Network coordinator, and his secretary Ratree Pipattanapaiboon were guilty of espionage, illegal entry, and trespassing in a military zone. Mr Veera was sentenced to an eight-year jail term and a 1.8 million riel (US$450) fine while Ms Ratree was handed a six-year jail term and a 1.2 million riel (US$300) fine.

“We will inform Cambodia that these moves are unacceptable. We will inform the international community, particularly the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, that the incident shows the ill intention of Cambodia. The international community will see that Cambodia’s claim that Thailand invaded its territory is not true,” the premier said, noting on the contrary that Cambodia had invaded Thailand. (MCOT online news)

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