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Officials still mum on Thai border shooting

Military and government officials yesterday said they couldn’t shed any new light on the reported shooting deaths of seven Cambodians who crossed the border into Thailand on Friday.

Separate military sources said on Sunday that the seven were shot dead by Thai soldiers after crossing from Oddar Meanchey province. One source even named four of the victims.

Officials yesterday, however, said they had no public information on the case.

“I haven’t got this kind of information,” Koy Kuong, spokesman for Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said. “I have contacted the Cambodian general consulate in [Thailand’s] Sakeo province to investigate, but he has no precise information.”

Keo Tann, police chief in Oddar Meanchey’s Trapaing Prasat district, said he did not know whether the shooting had occurred.

The Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok and Thailand’s ambassador to Cambodia, Touchayoot Pakdi, could not be reached.

Two military sources on Sunday told the Post that the Cambodians, who were allegedly illegal loggers, were shot at just after midnight on Friday morning.

“Seven of them were shot dead by Thai soldiers in their territory,” one source said.

“We have identified only four victims,” the other said. “The seven bodies are still in Thai territory.”

A provincial military police officer in Oddar Meanchey province said yesterday that military officials at the border had written a report about the deaths and sent it to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces headquarters at the Ministry of Defence.

“We have prepared a report . . . so that a diplomatic note can be sent to Thai authorities to repatriate the corpses of the Cambodians,” the officer said.

Nhean Mono, a spokesman for the RCAF, said he had received no information about the shooting.

In 2012, at least 45 Cambodians were shot dead by Thai soldiers – a figure that tripled the death count of 2011.

Kuong said the government regretted that Cambodians were continuing to cross into Thailand to log.

Additional reporting by Shane Worrell

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