malai, Banteay Meanchey province – A dispute over an allegedly stolen pick-up truck erupted in gunfire between Thai and Cambodian authorities along the border one km from here early Monday morning, according to villagers and officials.
No one was injured in the incident.
Sao Bun, deputy police inspector in Malai, said the truck was stolen in Thailand and was making its way into Cambodia when it got stuck in the river that separates the two countries.
He said the thieves apparently had an agreement with Cambodian officials to bring the truck across the border.
One Cambodian soldier, who until recently fought for the Khmer Rouge, agreed to pull the truck out of the mud with his tractor, according to provincial police officer San Chhun and Sok
Vannarith, a motorcycle taxi driver. Also present were a handful of Cambodian soldiers, according to the witnesses.
They said that when Thai military and police officials arrived at the scene, the two sides opened fire on each other.
After about 20 minutes, the combatants agreed the car would be returned to Thailand and the tractor to Cambodia, Sao Bun said.
He said that Cambodian police did not fire any shots and blamed the skirmish on the Thais, claiming they lobbed more than two dozen M-79 rockets into the air at Cambodian authorities.
A number of people who live in this remote former Khmer Rouge stronghold said they heard the gunfire Monday morning.
Thai officials could not be reached for comment.