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Tempest in a temple ខែកក្កដា 15, 2008

Posted by សុភ័ក្ត្រ in News.
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Cambodia released three Thais who were detained on Tuesday while apparently trying to “liberate” Preah Vihear temple. But 17 Thai border troops caught in the area will be held overnight, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said.

Si Sa Ket provincial governor said that Cambodia released three Thai protestors who were detained by Cambodia earlier in the day for illegally entering the disputed area adjacent to Preah Vihear temple.

Governor Seni Chittakasem said Cambodian authorities released them unconditionally and the trio crossed the border into Thai side.

Supreme Commander Gen Boonsang Niampradit said Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh promised to instruct his subordinates to secure their release.

But Cambodian authorities said that Thai border guards entered Cambodian territory after the release of the three – a man, a woman and a monk. Most quickly returned to Thai territory, but some did not leave.

“Let me stress this is a very small problem that can be solved by local officials,” Kanharith said. “The Thais entered Cambodia and Cambodia detained them. This issue will be finished by tomorrow.”

The first trio of Thais, identified as Phicharn Thapsorn, 35, Chanikarn Singnok, 64, and Buddhist monk Khamphor, were detained by Cambodian soldiers for trespassing in the Preah Vihear temple compound on the Cambodian side of the border.

They were reportedly members of a Buddhist peace pilgrimage group and had crossed into the temple area from Khantalak district, Si Sa Ket province, which abuts the temple and Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province, Monday night.

The three were reportedly members of the Dharma Yatra, which claims it is a Buddhist peace pilgrimage group.

The protestors made their way secretly through a barbed wire fence from the Thai side into the disputed zone at the entrance of Preah Vihear temple in an attempt to raise the Thai national flag over the disputed area.

Hang Soth, secretary general of the government’s Preah Vihear authority said earlier that around 40 black uniformed Thai border guards with guns arrived at the temple, but was in negotiations when contacted for comment.

Kanharith said not all the Thai troops were armed and that the situation was contained despite their overnight detention.

Cambodia has had riot police and military on standby at the temple since Thai protests began earlier this month.

Residents of Si Sa Khet province, about 400 kilometres north-east of Bangkok, have been protesting the listing since early July, prompting Cambodia to shut access to the temple from the Thai side of the border.

Hang Soth said in an earlier interview that Cambodia believed the protesters had been paid by a political group in Thailand to remain. (With reports by dpa, TNA)

ប្រភព៖ http://www.bangkokpost.com/topstories/topstories.php?id=128884

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