Official Says Logging-Related Deaths Down

The number of people shot dead while illegally logging luxury wood in Thailand decreased significantly in 2013 compared to 2012, although a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) official provided numbers much lower than provincial police officials, whose number also differed from human rights groups.

Brigadier General Pech Vanna, director of RCAF’s Cambodian-Thai Relation Border Bureau, said a total of about seven Cambodians were shot dead after illegally entering Thailand to illegally log trees.

In 2012, 45 Cambodian loggers were shot dead by Thai troops.

However, added together, figures from officials in Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear provinces put the deaths at twice as high, totaling about 13.

Chief of Oddar Meanchey provincial police statistics, Major Prom Bunrith, said that six people from his province had been killed logging in Thailand.

In Preah Vihear province, the number of deaths related to illegal logging was around seven, provincial police chief Sy Kiry said.

“There were between six to seven people who were shot dead by Thai armed forces in 2013 and about 10 people were injured. If we compare 2013 and 2012, the figures are similar,” Mr. Kiry said.

The figures are still a far cry from a nationwide tally of logger deaths by rights group Adhoc, which in November said 33 Cambodians had been killed across the border in 2013.

Cambodians regularly enter Thailand looking to illegally log luxury Rosewood, which is in high demand in China. Thailand has said its troops only shoot illegal loggers when fired upon first.

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