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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Three men jailed for border espionage

Cambodian, Vietnamese authorities set to appeal

A Thai provincial court has sentenced a Thai, a Cambodian and a Vietnamese to two years in jail for espionage along the Thai-Cambodian border in June.

Nguyen Teng Dang, a 37-year-old Vietnameseman,is taken to a prison in Si Sa Ket yesterday after being sentenced to two years’imprisonment together with a Thai andaCambodianfor espionage along the Thai-Cambodian border in June. SERMPONG THONGSAMRIT

The court in Kantharalak district of Si Sa Ket province yesterday announced the sentences of Suchart Muhammad, a 32-year-old Thai, Cambodian citizen Ung Kimtai, 43, and Nguyen Teng Dang, 37, a Vietnamese national.

Suchart, who drove a pickup for the alleged spies, and Ung also received additional jail terms of four months and three months respectively because they had drugs in their possession.

The jail sentences were halved from eight months and six months, respectively, due to their confessions.

The three men were arrested in the border district of Kantharalak, Si Sa Ket, on the evening of June 7. Their alleged Cambodian spymaster, identified as Wichai or Ya Pao, 48, managed to flee.

Man Wanna, Cambodian consul in Thailand, and Pham Minh Tuan, secretary to the Vietnamese ambassador to Thailand, were present at the ruling along with Thai soldiers and police.

Relatives of the three men also were also present. Some of them burst into tears after the ruling. They saw off the three men from the court as they were escorted to a prison in Kantharalak district.

The Cambodian and Vietnamese authorities will appeal against the verdict.

Meanwhile, Thai Defence Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa said he planned to visit Cambodia on Sept 23 and 24 and has asked if his Cambodian counterpart Tea Banh would be available for a meeting.

The minister said he had to inform his Cambodian counterpart that the Thai cabinet and parliament had to approve in advance the framework for negotiations for the next meeting of the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee.

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