Two Cambodian men were arrested late Wednesday for their alleged involvement in a melee at a Thai market in Sa Kaeo province earlier that day, during which hundreds of Cambodian market vendors reportedly attacked and injured officers from the Thai Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and damaged cars belonging to the unit.
The trouble began at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday when DSI officers arrived at the Rong Kluea market near the Thai-Cambodian border and began to confiscate counterfeit watches, belts and eyeglasses being sold by the market’s many Cambodian vendors, according to vendor Meng Huy.
“The Cambodian market vendors started to get angry with them when they came and grabbed their goods from the stalls without alerting them or working with Thai police,” he said.
In an ensuing brawl caught on camera, market vendors and workers threw stones at the unit’s truck and overturned one of its SUVs, injuring 12 DSI officers in the process, the Associated Press reported.
Another vendor, Se Tola, said the Cambodians at the market—already agitated by the confiscation of their goods—then became enraged when the Thai officers tried to arrest three Cambodians at the scene and put them in their cars.
“The other market vendors, including some workers, retook them from the back of their cars and retook their goods too, creating chaos in the market and throwing rocks to smash the cars’ windows,” he said.
Nhim Seiha, 24, and Kong Sam Un, 22, were both arrested by Thai police near the Poipet International Checkpoint late on Wednesday as they attempted to return to Cambodia, according to Soum Chankea, the Banteay Meanchey provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc.
He said bail for the men had been set at 50,000 Thai baht (about $1,400) each.
Poipet City governor Nguon Mengchruon said that he had met with Thai authorities on Thursday to discuss the incident but declined to provide further details.