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4 loggers return after crackdown

FIVE Cambodian men remain missing while four have returned home and 11 have been detained in a Thai prison after Thai authorities staged a crackdown on illegal logging in border areas this week.

On Thursday, Thai military officials sent their Cambodian counterparts the names of 11 men imprisoned in Sisaket province, Kan Thalak district.
The men, from Oddar Meanchey province's Trapaing Prasat district, are awaiting trial in a Thai court, said Touch Ra, deputy chief of the Thailand-Cambodia relations office at the Chom border gate.

The men were arrested Monday in a crackdown that officials said turned violent, as Thai soldiers opened fire on the loggers.

Vann Kosal, governor of Trapaing Prasat district, said Thursday that four of the original nine missing men had returned to Cambodia. He added that soldiers from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces were working with the Thai military to locate the five missing men.

"We don't know where [the men] are because everyone ran in different directions when the Thais started shooting," he said.

Oddar Meanchey Deputy Governor Loun An said Thailand must pay compensation to the families of any men wounded or killed in the incident."We have asked them before not to use guns to shoot unarmed people who enter their country illegally," he said.

A spokesman for the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the ministry was "checking the facts of this case" and did not wish to comment.

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