OFFICIALS have confirmed the killing of a Cambodian national by Thai soldiers along the border in Banteay Meanchey province’s Thma Puok district on Saturday.
Villagers told the Post on Monday that Tauch Chek, 31, from Kork Romeat commune, was reportedly shot dead on Saturday night while he was foraging in the Dangrek Mountains for ingredients to make herbal medicine.
Banteay Meanchey provincial police Chief Hun Hean confirmed that six Cambodian villagers in civilian dress strayed up to 9 kilometres into Thailand’s Buriram province to cut wood on Saturday. One of the villagers, who was reportedly carrying an AK-47 rifle, was shot and killed by police, he said.
“We are searching for the origin of the gun. The villagers are not supposed to own a gun,” he said, adding that the weapon may have been placed near the victim’s body in order to put the fault on the villagers.
Rorn Chanla, the victim’s aunt, said that the Thai authorities had requested that she pay 10,000 baht (around US$308) for the return of her nephew’s body.
“The victim’s wife has already gathered 10,000 baht that we have borrowed from other villagers to pay the Thai authorities in order to take the body back ... and arrange a funeral for him,” she said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said he had not issued any diplomatic notes to Thailand about the recent shootings on the border, but that the incident was “a cruel and inhumane” act.
“Although these villagers crossed the border illegally to cut wood in Thailand, the problem shouldn’t be solved with a gun barrel like this,” he said. “Only the law of the jungle supports such a cruel act.” He said the government is insisting Bangkok bring the perpetrators to justice.