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Thai monk arrested by police near border

A THAI monk was arrested by Cambodian military police officers on Wednesday on suspicion of entering the country illegally after he was found living in a forest in Oddar Meanchey province.

So Phary, 38, was discovered about 50 metres from Thmar Don pagoda on the border in Kok Mon commune, Banteay Ampil district. The monk, who hails from Thailand’s Surin province, was being detained last night pending further investigation.

Pich Ratana, deputy chief of Oddar Meanchey province’s cabinet, said: “Our armed forces arrested a Thai monk on Wednesday for illegal entry into Cambodian territory. Now he is detained in a pagoda along the border with Thailand.”

The monk told local officials he had travelled to the area almost three weeks ago in order to conduct research for a forthcoming service. “He said he came here to research a sermon in the forest,” Pich Ratana said. “We do not know his real purpose, and our armed forces are asking him.”

The monk was apprehended not far from Samrong town, close to the spot where villagers believe Thai soldiers burned 16-year-old Yon Rith alive when he was caught logging illegally on Thai territory last month.

On Monday, another Cambodian man – Sim Bun Chhim, 25 – was allegedly shot dead by Thai troops when he was caught crossing the border illegally. An investigation is under way.

Thon Nol, governor of Samrong town, said: “Our armed forces ... never shoot Thais when they illegally cross the border, but the Thai military has shot Cambodians.”

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