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Thais return remains of deceased loggers

The bodies of three Cambodians killed while allegedly illegally logging rosewood in Thailand have been repatriated, border security officials said yesterday.

The three Cambodians were shot dead by Thai security forces on November 19 after they crossed the border from Oddar Meanchey province.

Touch Ra, border patrol chief at the Choam Sangam border crossing in Oddar Meanchey, said yesterday that the bodies had arrived on Monday and had since been given over to their families.

“They sent the bodies to us on Monday at 3pm and we forwarded them to the families. They came and took the bodies for the funeral in their home town in Kampong Speu province,” he said.

The three men, aged between 20 and 30, had crossed into Sisaket province in Thailand with equipment to fell luxury timber, which can fetch high sums for the loggers.

Along with 18 rosewood logs, Thai forestry officials found eight saws, four axes and five head torches.

If exported for sale, Thai officials estimated that the rosewood could have fetched up to 10 million baht ($315,000).

Exacerbated by rising prices and a growing scarcity of timber in the country, there have been scores of illegal logging deaths at the borders of Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear provinces in recent years.

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