49 Thai Loggers Face Prison in Burma

By Lawi Weng 9 July 2012

Burmese border authorities in Kawthaung released 31 Thai citizens on Friday, but continue to detain 49 people in prison following negotiations with their Thai counterparts on Sunday.

Only women and children were released, according to a local police officer who spoke to The Irrawaddy on Monday. The 49 remaining detainees are to face charges for illegally entering the country, logging, and possession of arms.

“They violated the laws of our country and face imprisonment,” said the police officer. “Violation of the immigration law alone carries a three-year sentence.”

The Thai detainees were arrested following a raid by the Burmese army on an alleged logging facility on the Burmese side of the border on July 4. Burma’s security forces said they seized timber-cutting machinery, bulldozers and trucks which were being used for illegal logging.

Meanwhile, 25th Infantry Division of the Thai army has deployed more troops along the Thai-Burmese border in the Ranong/ Kawthaung area.