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Shooting denied

Thailand says its soldiers were not responsible for casualties in latest cross-border gunplay

THE Royal Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh released a statement Thursday denying that Thai soldiers were responsible for the injury of a Cambodian who they claimed crossed the Thai-Cambodian frontier to engage in illegal logging in Thailand's Trat province.

"The Thai border patrol soldiers are not aware of any injury to a Cambodian man," the embassy said, adding that on September 5 Thai soldiers were patrolling the border in an area known for its illegal logging and came across five men in Cambodian military uniforms, whom they  tried to capture.

"The Thai soldiers asked the Cambodian men to stop, but they opened fire, and the soldiers counter-attacked. During the firefight, the Cambodian men escaped," the embassy statement said. 

It also noted that after the Cambodians had fled, the Thai soldiers found four pieces of valuable hardwood, known in Khmer as beng. 

Ly Vuoy, Samlot district police chief, told the Post that Morn Meuoth, a 37 year-old Cambodian soldier, was severely injured.

"We don't know about his condition at the moment," Ly Vuoy said. "It is difficult to say who made the mistake, but the incident occurred in the [border's] overlap area. The Thai soldiers should not have opened fire because of an accidental border-crossing."



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