Ministry Slams Thailand Over Shooting

The Foreign Affairs Ministry on Friday chastised the Thai government for the fatal shooting of a Cambodian national who was reportedly attempting to steal a motorbike across the border the day before.

The rebuke came on the same day the ministry announced the first state visit by Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

A border liaison chief at the O’Smach border checkpoint in Oddar Meanchey province on Friday confirmed that Soeun Vorn, 21, was shot dead by Thai soldiers during the alleged robbery.

In a statement sent to the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh stamped “urgent,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry rebuked the shooting.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia strongly protests against such cruel acts conducted by the Thai military violating the most elementary humanitarian principles and spirit of good neighborliness [sic] and friendship between Cambodia and Thailand and requests again and again the authorities concerned of Thailand to avoid violence shooting death, but to use legal measures against perpetrators,” the statement says.

Every year, dozens of Cambodians are shot by Thai soldiers and border police while logging illegally across the border. Cambodia has repeatedly urged Thailand to arrest and prosecute the loggers instead of shooting them.

Also on Friday, the Foreign Affairs Ministry issued two separate statements announcing a visit from Thai Foreign Affairs Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn on Wednesday and Thursday and the first visit from Thai Prime Minister Prayuth on Thursday and Friday.

The ministry says Mr. Prayuth will meet with King Norodom Sihamoni and then with Prime Minister Hun Sen, after which the two premiers will sign off on three memorandums of understanding covering tourism, human trafficking and a railway line linking the two countries.

Contacted yesterday, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said he had no details about the agreements and did not know whether the fatal shooting of Soeun Vorn would be discussed either.

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