A report from Banteay Meanchey’s annual provincial government meeting Monday alleged that 13 Cambodians were shot dead and 33 more injured by gunfire from Thai authorities along the province’s 180-km stretch of Thai border in 2007.
“[The victims] were shot by Thai soldiers when they were crossing the border between Cambodia and Thailand or when they were working inside Thailand,” claimed Bun Hor, Banteay Meanchey provincial cabinet chief.
A Thai Embassy official, who asked not to be named, said Tuesday that he hasn’t seen the provincial report, but that no Thai soldier has ever gunned down a Cambodian to his knowledge.
“Thai soldiers can’t shoot and kill Cambodians, but drug traffickers have disputes and kill each other and put mistakes on Thai soldiers,” he said.
“These drug traffickers have tried to make Cambodia and Thailand hate each other,” he said.
Ek Sam On, deputy commander of military region five, said that officials from his region, which covers Banteay Meanchey province, meet with Thai soldiers twice a year to work on border cooperation efforts between the two countries and security.
He said that Thai officials commit to one approach at those meetings, but then act quite differently when not being monitored.
“They always agree with our request in front of us, but our people are still shot and killed after being accused of thievery and drug-smuggling,” Ek Sam On said.