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Last logger found in forest with leg wound

RELATIVES of Phal Sokha, the illegal logger from Oddar Meanchey province who went missing last week after Thai soldiers opened fire on his group, said a search party had found the 20-year-old alive but injured on Tuesday morning.

Phal Sokha had apparently been stranded in the forest of Sisaket province after being shot in his left leg during the attack, during which his 55-year-old father-in-law was shot and killed and a second member of the 11-man group sustained serious injuries, his relatives said.

“We found him at around 10 on Tuesday morning after we heard his voice calling out my father’s name,” said his brother, Phal Sokhorn. “It pained us to see him crawling towards us with his left leg in such bad shape.” Phal Sokhorn and two other relatives travelled with the search party, which was comprised of both Thai and Cambodian officials.

In an interview with the Post, Phal Sokha described the December 8 attack, which he said involved five Thai soldiers.

“I rushed to save my father-in-law after he was shot, but then the soldiers shot my leg,” he said. “So then he told me to escape, and so I ran for about 10 metres and hid under a big stone barrier behind a row of hedges.”

The day after the attack, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested that the Ministry of Interior instruct villagers not to venture into Thailand because of the recent wave of incidents involving illegal loggers.

These continued this week, with Thai soldiers on Monday opening fire on a group of 14 illegal loggers from Oddar Meanchey who also crossed the border into Sisaket province, one of whom sustained serious injuries from gunshot wounds to his right leg, police said.

Lek Sokha, Oddar Meanchey’s deputy police chief, said Him Rous had been sent to Siem Reap provincial hospital Tuesday.

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