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.”