Published on July 17, 2007
The seven Thai rangers and village headman who were detained in Laos for six days pose with senior Thai officials, who escorted them back to Thailand.
The seven rangers and village headman had been held in custody since last Tuesday - six days - after Laos accused them of intruding on its territory for unclear purposes.
Nan provincial military commander Major General Nithinant Chaiwattanaphan led a group of senior officials from the Supreme Command and local authorities to take the eight officials from Xayabouly province back to Thai territory.
Lao officials led by Bounnhang Chandalasan, the deputy Xayabouly governor joined a ceremony to hand the group over to Thai officials.
The eight captured officials included Capt Somsak Phummarin, Command Sergeant Major Yuthaphong Ma-oun, Ranger Suthin Phromchai, Ranger Bounthian Jaikham, Ranger Nual Piangjai, Ranger Pitak Khamkwaen, Ranger Tha Khamkwaen and village head Sawaeng Thaokham.
The men were taken by helicopter for questioning at a military camp in Phitsanulok province after arriving back in Thailand.
Their family members and relatives waited for them at the border checkpoint in Thung Chang district, opposite Xianghon district in Xayabouly.
None of the group was allowed to talk to the media. But they meet their families briefly at the border checkpoint before being sent to Phitsanulok.