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Two Cameroonians soccer player found guilty

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - Two Cameroonian soccer players were convicted of fraud today and sentenced to harsh jail terms by a Rangoon court, legal sources said.

Both were given 7 years for fraud, in addition one of the men identified as Mr. Tecow Teta Joseph Appod was given an extra 2 years because he briefly escaped custody on the first day of trial.

Mizzima was told by sources familiar with the case, that while at court awaiting the beginning of the proceeding Appod asked guards to go to the toilet and managed to escape from the building.  He then climbed over a series of high walls, before jumping into a taxi.  He instructed the driver to take him to the French embassy where he sought protection.  French diplomatic staff, unwilling to assist the young African turned him over to authorities, who promptly returned him to Insein prison.

Facing an almost totally assured conviction in Judge Mya Win's Lanmadaw township court, Appod broke down in tears during today's proceedings. 

It was alleged that while staying at Rangoon's MGM hotel, the soccer duo claimed that they could make counterfeit US dollar notes.  Burmese authorities also alleged that in order to convince people of their counterfeiting prowess, the Cameroonians demonstrated their skills by pretending to reverse the counterfeiting process turning what they claimed were fake US bills into blank sheets of paper.  A local Burmese journal reported that by using a special light the police were able to prove the bills were indeed real and not counterfeit. 

The defendants spoke in French during the proceeding. A Burmese teacher who speaks French provided translation. 

A journalist from the Burmese domestic media told Mizzima that the Cameroonians were aspiring soccer players, who had originally come to Burma to play professionally in the Myanmar National League.   They played test matches with some clubs but no MNL teams signed them. 

Last Updated ( Friday, 05 March 2010 16:24 )  

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