TRAT – The Royal Thai Navy has suspended from duty three marines after they were arrested in Cambodia for carrying counterfeit US dollar banknotes.
The counterfeit currency had a total face value of $7.6 million (S$9.5 million).
Navy secretary Rear Admiral Kan Dee-ubon yesterday said the three Thai marines from the Chanthaburi-Trat Border Protection Command were detained at a restaurant in Cambodia’s Battambang on Friday.
He said if these three marines were found guilty in court, they would be dismissed from naval service.
An informed source said the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh was now in the process of coordinating with Cambodian authorities regarding this case. “The Foreign Ministry is already aware of the development,” the source said.
US Counterfeit dollars are an old problem in Cambodia. In October 2012, three Cambodian men were arrested for allegedly planning to smuggle millions of counterfeit dollars into the country, reportedly in collusion with Thai businessmen. A year earlier, two Thai men were arrested in Banteay Meanchey with $430,000 in fake bills brought in from Thailand.
Meanwhile, police arrested four Laotians early yesterday in the border province of Beung Kan for smuggling 495 kilos of marijuana into Thailand. The haul is worth about Bt14 million.
Police noticed a suspicious boat moving across the Mekong River towards Thailand at around 4am. This vessel stopped its engine about 100 metres before it reached the bank on the Thai side and three men on board began rowing the boat with oars instead. When it reached the bank, three other men showed up and unloaded some sacks.
Two of the six suspects rushed into the boat and sped away when police showed up. The sacks contain marijuana.
Those in police detention have reportedly confessed that they were promised Bt100,000 for delivering the marijuana to Thailand’s South.
In the border province of Ubon Ratchathani, a Thai woman was arrested yesterday morning for having in her possession 13,838 meth-amphetamine tablets.
The suspect, Ua Mangkang, said she received Bt10,000 for smuggling the tablets. Ua lived in Laos with her Laotian husband.