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Lao Police Arrest Five Cambodians

Lao border police arrested five Cambodians in Siempang district, Stung Treng province, last week, after a group of eight was found hunting animals and looking for other forest goods.

Cambodian officials say the five were arrested 1 kilometer inside the Cambodian border.

Stung Treng Governor Loy Sophat said the villagers had been tricked by the soldiers into their arrest.

Sy Soun, governor the province’s Siempang district, said he had already dispatched soldiers from the region to negotiate the release of the villagers, who remain in custody.

The Lao soldiers were demanding $15,000 in compensation for the release of the villagers, he said.

Officials at the Lao Embassy could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Koung said he had not received information on the arrests, but the Cambodian ambassador in Laos would seek to negotiate with Lao authorities.