Ministry of Interior figures released this week claim the number of Cambodians shot dead by Thai soldiers after illegally crossing the border almost doubled in 2012; however, the number of deaths the ministry lists – 30 – is lower than half-yearly figures released by a border relations office in August.
According to the ministry’s annual report, released this week, Cambodians killed in such shootings rose from 17 to 30 – a figure markedly lower than the 38 that the Cambodian-Thai Border Relations Office recorded in the first six months of 2012.
“The number is different because the ministry received reports from the police from each province, while my figures are directly from border officials at each checkpoint,” Cambodian-Thai Border Relations Office chief Pich Vanna said yesterday, adding he did not yet have figures for the whole of 2012.
Either way, Chan Soveth, senior investigator for rights group Adhoc, said, the increasing number of border deaths was a huge concern.
“Thailand, as a democratic country, should not have shot and killed people like this,” he said.
“Crossing the border does not carry a death penalty.”
The ministry report says 192 Cambodians were imprisoned last year for illegally crossing the Thai border, while 126,224 others were returned home.
Meanwhile, a 47-year-old Cambodian woman was shot and injured in Thailand’s Sakeo province on Wednesday, authorities said yesterday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Phak Seangly at firstname.lastname@example.org