Thai authorities paid over $900 to the family of a Cambodian man killed last week by Thai armed forces, a Cambodian border official said yesterday, though a Thai government spokesman called such a compensation payment “impossible.”
Doem Doeur, 44, was shot dead in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province June 23 by Thai forces near the border with Battambang province.
Cambodian authorities have said he and three other unarmed migrant workers were fired upon by Thai forces as the workers collected snails. The Thai government has said the men were suspected thieves who fired on police first. The man died June 24.
Lieutenant Colonel San Saray, Battambang province’s Thai-Cambodian border affairs chief, said Thai authorities gave the man’s family 30,000 baht, or about $925, on Saturday when the body was repatriated.
“To resolve this issue Thai authorities in Sa Kaeo agreed to pay the compensation of 30,000 baht to the victim Doem Doeur’s family because the victim died in Thailand,” he said.
Even with the payment, he said, officials did not address whether the shooting was justified at a meeting.
Supachai Jaisamut, spokesman for the Thai Interior Ministry, maintained the shooting was justified and said that such a large payment was “impossible.” He said it was possible a very small amount was paid, not as compensation, but related to the repatriation of remains.
Mr Supachai said he had not spoken to provincial officials about the issue.
“I don’t think he is the victim,” he said of Doem Doeur. “There is not need to pay the man. I don’t think they paid the money… Where would they get the money?”
Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said his ministry was still gathering information in the case and has not yet filed a complaint over the shooting with the Thai government, as is usual in such cases.
In the past “we have complained to the Thai government through a diplomatic notice sent to Thai government to arrest the gunman,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Tim Sturrock)