Violence erupted at the Prey Kub Thai-Cambodian border crossing in Banteay Meanchey province yesterday morning when two Thai soldiers attacked disorderly Cambodian migrant workers jostling in line to cross the border.
Six migrating Cambodian workers, including a seven-month-pregnant woman, and another Thai man were injured in the incident in which the Thai soldiers hurled stones and beat the thronging masses into order with wooden sticks, witnesses said.
“Thai soldiers started to use violence after our citizens failed to respond to verbal instruction to cross the border orderly one by one because they were vying to rush into Thailand and begin work,” Norng Song, village chief of Prey Kub, told the Post.
About 600 workers were pushing to cross the border at about 7.15am to start work early in Thailand, something that is a daily occurrence Song said.
The skirmish broke out as a Thai national was attempting to expedite the crossing of a group of Cambodians.
The Thai man sustained serious head injuries from being beaten with the wooden stick, but the other Cambodians sustained minor injuries.
The pregnant woman was immediately transported to hospital to examine whether her fetus has sustained any injuries, Song said.
“The Thai soldiers seemed to look down on Cambodian people because they used the baton, not hand, to knock their head to count the number of Cambodian people crossing into Thailand,” he said.
He added that Cambodian and Thai authorities called for an urgent meeting to prevent the situation from getting worse now or in the future.
Sao Veasna, police chief at the Poipet International Cambodia-Thailand border checkpoint office, said that Thai soldiers also unleashed a volley of five bullets into the air to threaten Cambodians not to protest or revolt against them.
To contact the reporter on this story: Phak Seangly at firstname.lastname@example.org