Navy marines arrested in Cambodia with fake dollar notes valued at $9.5m

The Royal Thai Navy has suspended from duty three marines after they were arrested in Cambodia for carrying fake US dollar banknotes.

The fake notes 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.

"We won't protect them. But we will ask if the Cambodian authorities will send them back to Thailand to face further action here," Kan said.

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.

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.