THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a note to the Ministry of Interior on Wednesday ordering it to urge villagers not to risk crossing the Thai border illegally, following a wave of reported arrests and shootings at the hands of Thai soldiers.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said local authorities in border areas should warn villagers against crossing into Thailand because Cambodians have been arrested and, in some cases, shot.
“We have received reports from our consulate in Sa Kaew province in Thailand that our people are crossing the border seeking jobs,” Koy Kuong said.
“But Thai soldiers have opened fire and accused them of illegal logging. This is why we are warning our citizens not to enter anymore.”
District and police officials in Oddar Meanchey province said that Thai soldiers shot and killed a 19-year-old Cambodian logger Saturday after he apparently ventured into neighbouring Sisaket province. Thai soldiers sent the man’s body to provincial authorities Tuesday, the officials said.
Koy Kuong said his ministry is considering sending a diplomatic note to Thailand asking the country not to shoot Cambodians when they venture into Thailand looking for work.
So far this year, Thai soldiers have opened fire four times on Cambodian villagers, said Keo Sann, Oddar Meanchey’s provincial police chief. Two villagers have been killed, he said.
“We warned them hundreds of times already not to cross the border,” Keo Sann said.
In September, the parents of 16-year-old Yon Rith said their son was shot then burned alive by Thai soldiers after he crossed the border with a group of loggers. In the same month, a Thai court sentenced 16 villagers to lengthy prison terms on charges of illegally entering the country and destroying forestry.