Cambodia frees all 47 Malaysians

All 47 Malaysian detainees in Cambodia have been released following negotiations between officials from both countries.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cambodian government has agreed to release all 47 Malaysians detained at a prison in Poipet following a decision by Prime Minister Hun Sen, a group involved in negotiations for their release said today.

NGO Antarabangsa was quoted by Bernama as saying that the Cambodian government was convinced the detainees were victims of a human smuggling syndicate.

The 47 Malaysians had been detained at the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Jail, located in a town bordering Thailand since Dec 11 last year, for cheating and conducting illegal gambling activities.

Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah contacted Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn, who is also foreign and international cooperation minister, to request for the release of all the detainees.

Saifuddin had also sent two senior officials from Wisma Putra to Banteay Meanchey to continue discussions with the Cambodian authorities concerning the Malaysian detainees.

Julau MP Larry Sng went on a trip to Poipet with a medical officer, media personnel and two family members of the detainees to understand the issue and provide basic supplies to those detained.

Bernama had quoted a detainee’s mother, Zunita Sedini, as claiming that her son, Yusuf Islam, was among 46 other Malaysians offered jobs paying more than US$1,500 (RM6,100). They found out they had been scammed upon arrival in Cambodia.