A spokesman for Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court yesterday said a judge is expected to conduct one-on-one interviews with 47 Malaysian nationals accused of running an illegal gambling den and committing fraud in Poipet city.
Spokesman Roeun Lina said an Investigating Judge is preparing to question the detainees, who are currently jailed at the provincial prison.
“The judge is preparing this case and will detail the results of the investigation,” Mr Lina said. “We can’t tell you more because the case is under investigation.”
“We need to question them one-by-one, through a translator,” he added. “They were charged over their involvement in running an illegal online gambling operation.”
Mr Lina said the court has yet to set a trial date.
“Whether they will be released or not, I cannot say,” he said. “Right now we have no official order to release them.”
Unnamed sources familiar with the case said Malaysian embassy officials were expected to visit the 47 at the provincial prison yesterday.
Ouk Siphan, chief of the provincial prison, yesterday declined to comment on whether embassy officials went to the prison.
The Malaysian nationals, aged 19 to 44, have been imprisoned since they were arrested following a raid on their rented home in the city in December.
Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin yesterday said an official letter from the embassy, requesting government intervention in the matter, was forwarded to the court for consideration.
“We cannot interfere in the court’s internal affairs, but we will send the embassy’s letter to the court to check based on existing laws and procedures,” Mr Malin said.
According to the indictment, the accused were together with eight other foreigners when they were detained in two separate raids in Samaki Meanchey and Prey Chhork villages.
“In total, we detained eight Chinese and 47 Malaysian nationals. They were sent to the Banteay Meanchey provincial police office in accordance with legal procedures,” the indictment read. “We checked and detained foreign nationals found operating two illegal online businesses.”
The case is being closely monitored by Malaysian authorities.
Malaysian Lawmaker Larry Sng Wei Shien has said he will join family members of the detainees and Malaysian press to visit the Kingdom today to “see the real situation on the ground”.
Additional reporting by Anith Adilah Othma