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Thai troops beat villagers: officer

A MILITARY commander in Banteay Meanchey province said Tuesday that he is preparing to file a complaint with the Thailand-Cambodia border relations office in Poipet after Thai soldiers allegedly beat three Cambodian villagers who had crossed the border to work on a sugarcane plantation, causing two to fall unconscious.

Neang Saret, a deputy battalion commander based at Poipet, said that the two villagers had crossed the border illegally into Sa Kaew province on May 7 when they encountered the Thai soldiers.

“After arresting the villagers, [the soldiers] took off their clothes and handcuffed them and beat them with a stick,” he said. “They have kept them since the morning, and released them on the evening of the same day.”

The following day, Neang Saret said, the two men joined another villager in crossing the border to look for vegetables. Again they encountered Thai soldiers, and again they were beaten, he said. He added that two of them suffered serious injuries during the second altercation.

“They live close to the border, and they have nothing to do besides entering Thailand for work, even though they have learned that it is dangerous,” Neang Saret said, and added that he planned to file a complaint with the border relations office soon.

Soum Chankea, Banteay Meanchey provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, identified the two men who were beaten unconscious as Ros Sary, 35, and Nou Ban, 30. He said the man who accompanied them on the second cross-border excursion – and who sustained only light injuries – was known only as Det, 35.

“The information I got is that these villagers entered Thailand to seek rattan and vegetables,” Soum Chankea said.

Veerachon Sukondhadhpatipak, deputy spokesman of the Royal Thai Army, said Tuesday that he had heard nothing about either altercation.

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