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Two Charged With Terrorism After Prank Letters

Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged two men with terrorism on Friday, citing prank letters they had allegedly sent to three Western embassies in April.

The court also charged the two men, Rafiqu Leslami Aka Kalan, a 42-year-old cook from Bangladesh, and TD Taudyal, a 44-year-old marketing manager from Nepal, with illegal entry.

Both men were arrested on Wednesday, after allegedly sending messages to the embassies of the US, UK and Australia that warned of terrorist acts against them by four unnamed foreigners, according to Phnom Penh court and police.

Police say security was bolstered at the embassies and a monthlong investigation was initiated. However, when the four foreigners were questioned, police found no threat.

Instead, police suspect the e-mails were related to a business dispute between the two men and foreigners, who police would not name but said had come from Western countries.

Both men are now being held in Prey Sar prison, awaiting trial. They face up to 20 years in jail if found guilty on terrorism charges.

Cambodian officials have been quick to act on any potential terrorism threats in Cambodia, following the discovery that a leader of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah named Hambali had been sheltered here prior to his 2003 arrest in Bangkok.