A 55-year-old Cambodian man was shot to death by Thai soldiers while on an illegal logging expedition across the border from Oddar Meanchey province, provincial officials said.
The dead man, Kampot province native Phorn Sarith, was part of an expedition of 25 people who crossed the border from Oddar Meanchey’s Trapaing Prasat district to Thailand’s Sisaket province on Saturday. Trapaing Prasat district police Chief Keo Tan said the man had been cremated in the Dangrek mountains on Sunday.
Van Kosal, Trapaing Prasat district governor, said deaths of Cambodians logging illegally across the border at the hands of Thai soldiers have become a serious problem over the past few months.
“We have tried our best to educated them about the negative impacts of crossing into Thailand for logging, but they never care,” he said.
Oddar Meanchey officials have reported three incidents since the start of November in which they say Cambodian loggers have been injured or killed by Thai troops. In September, officials say, 16-year-old logger Yon Rith was burned alive by Thai troops.
On Monday, Thai and Cambodian military commanders stationed along the disputed border area near Preah Vihear temple met to discuss the logging issue, according to a Cambodian soldier who attended the meeting but requested anonymity, explaining that Thai troops requested that the discussion remain confidential.
Srey Doek, commander of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Division 3, told the Thai troops that Cambodian forces would be happy to cooperate in preventing illegal logging by Cambodians in Thailand, though he added that the Thais must stop using lethal force in such incidents, the source said.