Thai border officials barred their citizens from crossing into Cambodia for more than an hour on Tuesday morning as the bodies of five Cambodian nationals killed in Thailand were returned home through the Poipet border, an official said.
Bun Hor, chief of the Poipet international checkpoint, said Thai authorities closed the border out of fear that Thais would be attacked by Cambodians angry over last Saturday’s killings, but such action was unnecessary, he said.
“Cambodia does not take any action [against] Thai citizens and does not discriminate,” Bun Hor said. “Cambodia does not take revenge on Thai citizens for this killing. People are innocent…. Let the authorities find the perpetrators and arrest them,” he said.
The border was reopened after Thai citizens demonstrated for more than an hour, Bun Hor said.
“Thai people were protesting at the Thai checkpoint gate demanding [entry] into Cambodia. They want to visit and make business in Cambodia. They do not care what happened in Thailand,” he said.
Five Cambodians, including one pregnant woman, were shot Saturday morning at a Thai furniture company where they worked. Initial press reports said that six adults had been killed, but one man was discovered to be faking death to escape further injury, said Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Sareth, deputy chief of the Cambodian-Thai border coordination office. “He is in hospital with two other injured men in Rayong province [in] Thailand,” Tim Sareth said.
All five bodies were returned to Cambodia on Tuesday afternoon, and a ceremony was held in Sras Trach pagoda in Poipet commune, said Tim Sareth.
The Thai Embassy could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Fearing additional attacks, Cambodian officials earlier this week urged Cambodian nationals working in Thailand to return home.
An estimated 300 Cambodians worked at the furniture factory where the killings took place, Tim Sareth said.