Thai armed forces shot and killed a Cambodian man in Thailand near the border with Battambang province, according to Thai and Cambodian authorities who offered widely differing accounts of what sparked the shooting.
Doem Doeur, 44, was shot twice in the shoulder and once in the thigh Wednesday in Thailand’s Sakaew province and died Thursday in a Thai hospital, said Keang Soththy, deputy police chief of Battambang’s Sampov Loun district, where the victim lived.
Mr Doeur was part of a group of four workers, who were shot at and who lived in Cambodia, but regularly crossed the border to work on a Thai farm, Mr Soththy said.
The men were traveling through a forest and had stopped to collect snails when Thai forces open fire, the police chief said.
“This is a terrible and violent shooting because the dead victim and his companions are civilians, not armed people. He should not have been shot and killed, he should have been arrested instead if he was guilty,” he said.
Offering a different version of events, Thai Interior Ministry spokesman Supachai Jaisamut, said that police were responding to a report of stolen motorcycles when they encountered at least six armed men and two motorcycles not far from the border.
“There were six men shooting the officers,” he said, adding that officers returned fire and shot the victim. “After that…the men they ran away and passed the border,” he said.
Mr Jaisamut added that police proceeded to take the man to hospital where he died on June 24.
Yin Mengly, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said when Cambodians are shot in Thailand across the border, Thai authorities frequently accuse the victims of serious crimes, but the details of such incidents are difficult to verify.
“So we hope the two governments will establish an independent body to investigate into the border shooting of Cambodian civilians to give justice for both parties,” he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said on Friday that the government would wait for a written report from police and the Cambodian consulate in Sakaew province before taking any action.