T HE Thai military has officially stated it will rigidly enforce an international
agreement banning the transportation of logs from Cambodia.
also tried to dispell the military's international reputation as a major player
in the illicit logging trade, saying they should be seen as honest brokers.
Other officers counter attacked with charges of hypocrisy and said the Royal
Government was in on the trade.
The ban went into force at midnight on
March 31. "No logs will be allowed out of Cambodia after 12 tonight," said the
military spokesman who declined to be named.
Phnom Penh-based reporters
were taken to a border crossing point on the eve of the ban being re-imposed as
the Thai military sought to repair its badly stained image.
journalists passed two truckloads of logs on their way into Thailand with three
more waiting at the checkpoint at An Seh near the junction of Thailand, Laos and
"About 30 truck loads of logs have come out of Cambodia in the
last two days," the Thai military spokesman said.
"We will enforce the
ban from our side. If any companies want to bring logs out of Cambodia after the
31st, they will have to request an exemption from the Thai
The military spokesman conceded that some exemptions might
The Thai government has been under great pressure from the
international community over the role of the military on the border. The army is
seen as playing a bridging role between Thai businessmen and the Khmer Rouge as
well as collecting bribes for turning a blind eye to illegal border
But speaking privately, several senior officers said the
international community was unfairly picking on the Thai military.
said:"The world is accusing the Thai military of helping the Khmer Rouge, but
there is no publicity about the effect of the temporary lifting of the logging
ban. It has put money into Khmer Rouge hands.
"The Royal Government
fights them and negotiates agreements that allow them to get money. That is
"The Royal Government negotiated an agreement with the Thai
government on how many cubic metres of logs, what companies, and what crossing
"Some of these logs are coming out of Khmer Rouge territory.
Money goes into the hands of the Cambodia government and money goes into the
hands of the Khmer Rouge," he said.