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Father of burn victim rejects Thai denials

Bullet lodged in bystander could shed light on case

AS Cambodia continued to wait for an official Thai diplomatic response in the case of a young man allegedly shot and then burned alive by Thai troops on the border between the two countries, the victim’s father demanded that Thai officials admit responsibility for his son’s death.

“I was angered to hear the Thai officials’ comment that their soldiers merely shot in the air. My son’s life is not something I will let them lie about or make a mockery of,” Saing Yon, father of murdered 16-year-old Yon Rith, told the Post on Thursday.

“I am still demanding that Thailand make a public admission. I do not need compensation – I want those responsible to be punished.”

Yon Rith was allegedly shot and burned alive last Friday. Fellow villager Mao Kleung was also shot but survived and is recovering in an Oddar Meanchey province hospital. Ten other Cambodians escaped unharmed from the confrontation with the Thai soldiers.

Srey Naren, Oddar Meanchey provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said that the bullet still lodged inside of Mao Kleung will shed light on the role of Thai troops in last week’s incident. When doctors remove the bullet and submit it for analysis, she said, “we will have evidence to put before the Thai foreign affairs officials”.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Thursday that his ministry was still waiting for an official written response from the Thai side to Tuesday’s diplomatic note.

“They have to answer because this is a very serious issue. If they do not respond, it means they accept responsibility [for the incident],” Koy Kuong said.

The Bangkok Post reported on Wednesday that Vimon Kidchob, spokeswoman for the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denied the allegations against the Thai soldiers.

On Thursday, however, an official from the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Post in an email that his government was not ready to make an official statement.

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