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Two Thais Pledged not Guilty in Border Trespassing

Thang Deng Yakla, 52, and Phit Orna, 48 were arrested in May 2010 at Preah Vihear province.

The appeal court heard on Wednesday a trespassing case of two Thai nationals armed with a shotgun and entered Cambodia illegally.

The two were identified as Thang Deng Yakla, 52, and Phit Orna, 48. They were arrested in May 2010 at Preah Vihear province.

Defense lawyer said the two were hunters and had no intention to cause armed conflicts.

"They came here for hunting," said Kao Sopha, defense lawyer for the two accused. "I think that if the appeal court has a will to have good relation with neighboring country, they should release my clients.”

Cambodia and Thailand had deadly armed clashes in the past due to ownership claims over a piece of land near Preah Vihear temple.

The appeal court prosecutor Tith Sothy failed to produce substantive evidence against the two Thais, and agreed that they had no ill intention against Cambodia.

Tith Sothy said the accused did not have intention to enter Cambodia and that they “lost their way and the gun was only used for hunting animal not to engage in a war with Cambodian soldiers.”

Provincial court sentenced the two to five years in jail in August 2010 on charges of illegal entry and using illegal weapon.

The final verdict will be announced next month, according to Judge Khun Leang Meng.