Verdict on 8 Thais held in Myanmar expected in 2 weeks

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BANGKOK, Aug 16  – The trial of eight Thais, arrested in Myanmar on charge of possessing war weapons, was scheduled to end today, but it could take two weeks before the court delivers its verdict, according to Foreign Ministry deputy spokesperson Sek Wannamethee.

Mr Sek reported that two other Thais who were held and charged with drug offences would appear before another court on the same day for witness hearings.

The maximum penalties for possessing military weapons and drug offences are 20 years and 30 years in jail respectively.

The eight are among 92 Thais arrested by the Myanmar authorities at Koh Song opposite Thailand’s Ranong province in early July. They were initially alleged to have encroached into Myanmar territory and having grown crops there without a permit. The charges of illegal possession of weaponry and drugs were later added to some of them.

In a courtesy call on Myanmar President Thein Sein on Wednesday, Thai Defence Minister Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat discussed the plight of the 92 Thai detainees and requested that they be released and returned to Thailand.

The Myanmar leader promised to look into the issue, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.