Thai Defense Official Tells of Border Violations

A Thai military attache on Monday discussed reports that Thais recently have crossed into Cambodia territory, but said the incidents involving soldiers from both nations were insignificant and quickly resolved.

“Thais and Cambodians are brothers,’’ said Colonel Weer­esak Lomwong, defense attache at the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh. “Especially in the military, we have good relations.’’

The most recent incursion occurred Feb 28, when 18 Thai soldiers and four civilians were briefly detained by Cambodian troops near Pailin after what they said was an accidental foray into Cambodian territory.

RCAF Major General Chea Saran said Friday that the Thais were chasing robbers when they traveled about 8 km into Pailin in Battambang province.

The Thais, armed with two B-40 rocket launchers and assault rifles, were detained briefly be­fore being released, Chea Saran said, to avoid exacerbating tensions between the two countries.

“We didn’t want the problem to be more complex,” said Chea Saran. “It was not a penetration because they only chased after robbers [beyond their soil].”

In February, RCAF officers claimed that as many as 300 Thai soldiers penetrated about 0.5 km into the Choam Te area of Preah Vihear province.

Weeresak Lomwong said he met with Chea Saran Friday to discuss the incidents. The two agreed that misunderstandings arise in part because the border is poorly marked and each country relies on different maps which do not always agree.

The Thai attache said the important thing is that the incidents have been resolved quickly and peaceably. “Both sides are working together,’’ he said.


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