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Third villager shot by troops in Thailand, officials report

CAMBODIAN authorities say another villager from Banteay Meanchey province has been shot and killed by Thai soldiers – the third reported case in less than a week.

Thma Puok district Police Chief Yort Yay said the villager, 44-year-old Pol Sarith, was shot three times in the head and chest along the Cambodian-Thai border on Monday.

“The victim is a villager who sells and buys secondhand motors with a Thai businessman,” Yort Yay said.

Yort Yay says the Thai soldiers also placed a bomb and 90 tablets of amphetamines near the victim’s body to accuse him of being a drug trafficker.

Pol Sarith is from the same district as two other villagers reportedly shot on the weekend after having strayed into Thai territory.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Wednesday he was waiting for comment from Thailand regarding the allegation.

Local rights group Adhoc has reported that Thai soldiers shot and killed at least 20 Cambodian civilians in the border area in 2008 and 2009.

Thai officials have declined to comment on individual cases, but said Thai soldiers claim to have fired on armed groups only.

Appeal filed
Meanwhile, the Thai lawyer defending six Cambodians convicted of illegal logging in Thailand’s Surin province last month has filed an appeal, Koy Kuong said.

The six villagers from O’Smach commune in Oddar Meanchey were arrested on January 25 while collecting rattan in areas along the Thai border.

A Thai court sentenced them to 27 months in prison after finding them guilty of illegal logging, a ruling that rankled Cambodian officials, who said they had been given an inaccurate court date and were thus unable to ensure the group had legal representation.

Koy Kuong said Prasat Thaidy, the lawyer selected to defend the six Cambodians, filed the appeal on Tuesday, though he said he had been informed that a hearing would not be held for another six months.

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