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Seven Thais, Including MP, Charged for Illegal Entry

Thai activists Veera Somkwamkid, second left, a core leader of Yellow Shirts and Panich Vikitsreth, a member of Parliment of the ruling Democrat party, second right, are escorted by Cambodian court security personnel at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, on Thur

A Thai parliamentarian and six supporters were charged with illegal entry and ill-intent in Phnom Penh court on Thursday, after they were arrested Wednesday near the northern border.

Cambodian authorities claim the lawmaker, Panich Vikitsreth, and six supporters of the People's Alliance for Democracy, entered Cambodia illegally and were caught in a military area in Banteay Meanchey province.

According to Thai media reports, the group had been traveling to investigate claims of Cambodian encroachment on Thai land.

Phnom Penh prosecutor Sok Roeun said he charged all seven for illegal entry for trespassing in Chey Chumnas village, O'Chov district. The charges carry a sentence of three to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

The seven suspects—five men and two women—are being held in Prey Sar prison.

Thai Foreign Minsiter Kasit Pirumya flew in to meet with his Cambodian counterpart, Hor Namhong, on Thursday.

Hor Namhong told reporters after that meeting that the suspects had “deeply entered Cambodia, some 500 meters from the border.”

Hor Namhong said he had told Kasit the case was in the hands of the court and there would be no political release.

“We will solve this problem step by step,” he said. “We both agreed that this problem will not affect other things in the relationship of our two countries.”

The two neighbors have only just patched up rocky diplomatic relations and eased tensions along a disputed border area in Preah Vihear province.

Addressing reporters, Kasit said armed conflict between the two “cannot happen, because we have a clear policy.”

“At this time, we respect Cambodia's judicial process,” he said.