Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Logging body count doubted

Logging body count doubted

A man reveals the entry wound on his leg where he was allegedly shot by a Thai soldier
A man reveals the entry wound on his leg where he was allegedly shot by a Thai soldier while illegally logging across the border earlier this year. Heng Chivoan

Logging body count doubted

In the past year, just one Cambodian logger has been killed by Thai security forces after illegally crossing the border from Oddar Meanchey province in search of luxury rosewood, according to a provincial police report that was released this week, which directly contradicts the findings of a local rights group.

According to the report, which was sent to the Ministry of Interior on Monday and obtained by the Post yesterday, between November 2013 and November 2014 Thai soldiers opened fire six times on Cambodian loggers, killing one woman and injuring five other people.

A further 45 loggers were arrested over the 12 month period, the report says.

“The provincial authorities had tried to prevent them from illegally crossing to log the rosewood,” it adds.

But Srey Naren, the provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said the official count does not represent the true scale of fatalities incurred on the popular logging route.

Naren said that eight Cambodian loggers were in fact killed over the 12-month period.

He added that this still marked an improvement on previous years.

The fatalities have “dramatically decreased because people in the province have stopped going to log”, he said.

Suon Rithy, a former logger based in the province’s Trapaing Prasat district, agreed.

“We used to go logging . . . but now we do not dare because there are way too many deaths and arrests. Most of the people who go logging come from other provinces, not from Oddar Meanchey,” he said.

Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to requests for comment yesterday, but said in September that throughout 2014 no Cambodian nationals had been harmed after illegally crossing the border.

During a state visit last week, Thailand’s Minister of Defence Prawit Wongsuwan admitted that shootings happen, but said they were unintentional.

The Oddar Meanchey figures will form part of a countrywide report expected to be released by the Ministry of Interior early next year. The Ministry has previously reported that 69 loggers were shot dead in 2013.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all