THREE Cambodian men have been arrested in Thailand on charges of illegal logging after crossing into Thai territory with logging equipment and guns.
Dy Phen, chief of the Thai-Cambodian Border Relations Office in Banteay Meanchey province, said the men were arrested on Wednesday in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province, adjacent to Thmar Pouk district in Banteay Meanchey. Four men travelling with the trio subsequently escaped back to Cambodian territory, he added.
“Thai authorities found them with about 50 AK-47 bullets, no passports and equipment for cutting wood in Thailand,” Dy Phen said.
Dy Phen said Cambodian officials had attempted to negotiate the release of the three men yesterday, but without success.
“It is because of their poverty that they are forced to go to Thailand to cut wood without thinking about their security,” he said.
More than 20 Cambodians have been injured or killed by Thai troops since 2008 while logging across the border, according to local rights group Adhoc.
Meanwhile, five Cambodian men from Stung Treng province’s Siem Pang district were arrested by Laotian authorities for illegally crossing the border, Siem Pang district governor Sy Soun said yesterday.
“They did not do any illegal logging in Laos, but they walked past the Cambodian border to Laos while they were looking for fish and taking care of their buffaloes,” Sy Soun said.
The men have been detained at a prison in Laos’s Champasak province so that Laotian authorities can “reeducate them and wait for a resolution between Laotian and Cambodian authorities to release them”, he added.