Thais Secure Border After Worker Deaths

In the wake of last weekend’s kil­ling of five Cambodians in Thai­land, Thai authorities have bol­stered their armed forces along the border, and Cambodian officials are warning citizens not to cross in­to Thailand illegally, police and military officials said Thurs­day.

“We see more Thai soldiers were sent and are stationed at the border along Pailin, but we do not know their purpose,” said Lieu­te­nant-Co­lo­nel Tim Sareth, deputy chief of the Cambodian-Thai border coor­di­nation office. “They are mo­ving around along the border every day.”

Chhouk Ang, chief of the border police at Poipet, said Thai officials have stepped up their presence near Poipet as well.

“Thai soldiers have strengthened their security…along the border,” Chhouk Ang said. “We also are trying to inform people through village, commune and relevant in­stitution officials not to en­ter Thai­land illegally.”

Tim Sareth said his officers are al­so investigating a barrage of gun-fire heard from inside Thailand Wednesday, about 3 km from the border near the Poipet commune.

“I ordered our officers to investigate it because we are worried it would affect our people,” Tim Sar­eth said.

On Thursday, National Assem­bly President Prince Norodom Ra­nariddh decried Saturday’s fatal shooting of the five Cambodians at a furniture factory in Thailand where they worked.

“We must investigate why our people were shot,” he said. “I will re­quest [that the] government find justice for the victims. We will pro­test through diplomatic [means].”

Earlier this week, Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a letter to its Thai counterpart urging authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Prince Ranariddh also alleged that Thai military aircraft recently in­vaded Cambodia’s airspace. While Cambodia has no radar equipment to verify the flights, he said witnesses have claimed they saw the planes.

The prince also expressed dismay that Cambodia has no weapons or planes.

“Thailand and Vietnam are strong,” he said. “If we fight, we will never win.”

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