Laos and Thailand finally signed an extradition treaty in late 2007, three years after Thailand extradited to Laos prisoners from the Vangtao-Chongmek incident.
In 2002, members of a Lao resistance group crossed into Laos and seized a border checkpoint at the town of Vangtao in Champassak province, across from the Thai town of Chongmek in Ubon Ratchathany province. A couple of days later, Lao troops attacked the invaders who, upon fleeing back to Thailand, were arrested by Thai authorities. Although the two countries did not then have any extradition agreement, Thai authorities extradited the prisoners to Laos in 2004 out of good will.
Thai and Lao officials say they will start implementing the treaty by exchanging information on Lao and Thai prisoners currently imprisonned in their respective countries.
The treaty covers all criminal offenders but not the 7,000 plus Hmong refugees at Ban Huay Nam Khao detention camp, whom both governments consider illegal immigrants and are determined to return them all to Laos by the end of 2008.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details in Lao.