The Thai government has found no evidence indicating their border police fatally shot a Cambodian wounded by a land mine as he and 17 others crossed the border, a Thai Embassy official said Tuesday.
The Thai government recently completed its investigation into the Nov 1 incident in Banteay Meanchey province, and sent the report to the Thai Embassy in Cambodia, the official said.
“We have concluded through the investigation that there was no shooting,” the official said.
According to the official, 16—not 18—Cambodians were illegally entering Thailand Nov 1 when one of them stepped on a land mine, killing three and wounding four more. Thai authorities found one wounded woman at the scene after they arrived and took her to an undisclosed hospital in Thailand, where she received treatment for her wounds.
The official, who could not provide a name for the witness, said the woman confirmed the Cambodians were crossing into Thailand illegally under the cover of darkness when one of them stepped on a land mine, but never mentioned any shooting.
When asked if the witness denied Thai border police shot a Cambodian, the official said, “The injured woman did not say anything about a shooting.”
Thai authorities collected the three bodies at the scene of the incident and conducted autopsies before returning them to Cambodian officials at the border in Thmar Pouk district, Banteay Meanchey province, the official said. The autopsy results were not available, the official added.
Although the official said Cambodian officials agreed with their report, Banteay Meanchey Provincial Governor Thach Khorn said their investigation into the border incident shows Thai border police shot at least one Cambodian who was wounded by a land mine.
“Our report shows that Thai soldiers shot one of the Cambodians dead—we also found that the Thais opened fire on the Cambodians before the land mine exploded,” he said.
Thach Khorn’s investigation was conducted by provincial and Thmar Pouk district police officers, he said.
The governor’s police report coincides with at least two witness accounts. Rorn Ream and Choun Choeun, who were interviewed Nov 6, both said they were with 16 other Cambodians who were crossing into Thailand illegally when one of them stepped on a land mine. The land mine killed two of the group instantly, the witnesses said.
Minutes after the explosion, Thai border police converged on the scene and shot the remaining wounded man three times, the witnesses said.
Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said no official report about the incident has been completed.