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Military man shot dead

Authorities are investigating the case of a Cambodian man with a military background who was shot and killed execution-style in a Thai province near the border.

Pich Seth, 38, who lived in Pailin’s Sala Krao district, was shot twice in the head in a rice field near a Thai village in Chanthaburi province on Friday, authorities said.

But in a volatile area where Cambodian smugglers have often been killed by Thai border security, the circumstances surrounding the man’s death are murky.

Chim Chamnan, chief of the Cambodia-Thailand Border Relations office in Pailin province, said that Thai authorities told him Seth was murdered by a local man whose wife he allegedly raped.

“It is not clear, but they told me this,” he said, adding that Seth was known to smuggle timber and motorcycles across the border. “We are investigating this case.”

The man’s military background is unclear as well.

A relative said that Seth was a soldier until the day he died. But Sok Mom, a security guard in Seth’s hometown of O’Chheukrom assigned to the case, said Seth was a soldier in Pailin for a year, until he was dismissed, and worked in Battambang’s Brigade 52 for two years, only to be dismissed from the army entirely over a year ago.

Seth had a wife and two daughters, aged 7 and 13. His family is poor and his wife runs a small grocery store, Mom said.

Cambodians have long crossed the border into Thailand to illegally log rosewood, putting them at risk. In February, three Cambodians were reported to have been killed by Thai authorities.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly condemned the deaths.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Chum Sunry could not be reached yesterday.

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