The body of a 22-year-old Cambodian man was cremated yesterday at the place where he was allegedly shot dead by Thai soldiers on Monday in a Thai forest near the border to Oddar Meanchey province, officials and relatives said.
Mom Saveth’s body was badly decomposed and could not be moved from the spot where he was allegedly shot after illegally crossing the border to cut trees, said his brother-in-law Ip Monorith.
Another relative found the body on Wednesday after going to the area where Thai soldiers shot at Mr Saveth and three other Cambodian villagers on Monday afternoon, said Sas Sophan, deputy chief of O’Kranhuong village in Anlong Veng district.
Two men and a woman who accompanied Mr Saveth to log trees in Thailand escaped unharmed, Mr Sophan said. “We always advise villagers not to illegally cross the border, but they keep doing it.”
Touch Ra, deputy chief of the Cambodian-Thai relations bureau for Oddar Meanchey’s Anlong Veng and Trapaing Prasat districts, which border Thailand’s Sisaket province, said villagers make illegal border crossings to cut down luxury timber.
About seven Cambodian villagers have been shot dead on Thai soil bordering Cambodia’s Anlong Veng and Trapaing Prasat districts this year, Mr Ra said. “I think it is difficult for us to stop villagers because they secretly sneak across the border,” Mr Ra said, noting that Cambodian officials have repeatedly suggested to Thai authorities that villagers should be arrested rather than fired upon.
Cambodian and Thai Foreign Ministry spokespeople could not be reached yesterday.