Thai soldiers on Monday shot dead a 25-year-old man illegally logging rosewood across the border from Oddar Meanchey province, a senior military police official said Wednesday, bringing to 23 the number of men from the province killed while seeking the luxury timber since the beginning of the year.
Mao Mob was killed about 6 km from the Cambodia-Thailand border, in Thailand’s Sisaket province, where he and some 40 others were illicitly seeking rosewood, according to Colonel Ly Lada, chief of intelligence for the provincial military police.
“A group of 40 people went into the Thai forest looking for rosewood, but only one was shot and killed, while eight others were injured and are being treated at the Siem Reap provincial hospital,” Col. Lada said, adding that his officials were investigating the case.
Srey Naren, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said that in addition to the slain Mao Mob, a second man who ventured across the border is still missing.
“There are two men missing, including the dead man,” he said.
“There have been many other cases [of loggers being killed] inside Thai forests that we haven’t recorded because those rosewood loggers came from other provinces and we don’t know their identities.”
The vast majority of illicit logging by Cambodians occurs across the border from Oddar Meanchey, with Preah Vihear and Battambang provinces coming in second and third, respectively.
In March, Siamese Rosewood was elevated to protected-species status by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Last year, there were 45 reported cases of Cambodians shot dead by Thai soldiers while looking for rosewood across the border.
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