12 Cambodians’ Illegal Logging Leads to Shooting in Thailand Forces

Thai border forces allegedly shot one Cambodian dead and injured another inside Thai territory on Friday while trying to arrest 12 Cambodians for illegal logging on the Thai side of the border in Oddar Meanchey pro­vince, officials and a rights worker said Sunday.

Pol Sinoun, chief of RCAF’s Cambodian-Thai border affairs bureau, said the group of Cam­bodians ran when Thai border security caught them cutting down illegal luxury timber. The Thai forces then opened fire, hitting Yon Rith, 16, and Mao Kleng, 18, Mr Sinoun said.

“Yon Rith was shot to death and Mao Kleng was injured,” he said, adding that Mr Kleng escaped to Oddar Meanchey where he is receiving medical treatment for a gunshot wound. “They tried to log the timber on the Thai side,” Mr Sinoun added.

Oddar Meanchey Provincial RCAF commander Nem Earth said the two men were shot about 1.5 km inside the Thai side of the border, but he added that he had received reports from soldiers on the border that Mr Rith was burned by Thai troops.

“I got the information that Yon Rith was burned alive,” the commander said.

Srey Naren, provincial coordinator for local rights group Ad­hoc, said he was aware of the incident, but that he had received no reports of anyone being burned alive.

Reached by telephone at a hospital in Samraong town, Mr Kleng confirmed he was shot in the stomach while fleeing from Thai authorities and said that he witnessed Mr Rith be­ing shot.

“When Thai black-uniformed solders fired, we ran away and Yon Rith was shot in his back a few times when I saw him fall down to the ground,” he said.

“No one can help him,” he said.

Officials with the Thai Em­bassy in Phnom Penh could not be reached for comment.


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