Thai border authorities arrested and detained at least six Cambodians on Monday after the group crossed the border in Oddar Meanchey province in search of forest vegetables and tree vines.
RCAF Colonel Nanh Sovann, who heads the O’Smach International checkpoint, said he wrote to Thai border authorities yesterday asking for the group’s release, saying it is unclear if they had actually crossed into Thai territory. Mr Sovann said he had not yet received a reply.
“I wrote to the Thai soldiers to release them. We do not have evidence to show that they crossed the border,” he said.
Srey Naren, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said the group consisted of three men and three women who were collecting vegetables and small vines to sell in local markets. He said a family member of the detainees had contacted Adhoc seeking assistance.
Provincial governor Pich Sokhin confirmed the group had been arrested but declined to comment further.
The arrests mark a change from several incidents last year where Thai forces shot and either killed or injured Cambodians found illegally logging on the Thai side of the forested border with Cambodia.
In September, Oddar Meanchey provincial officials said a Thai border patrol shot and killed one Cambodian and wounded another while attempting to catch a group of 12 suspected of illegal logging. The Cambodian Foreign Ministry later asked Thai authorities to clarify an Oct 19 shooting that left one Cambodian from Oddar Meanchey dead.