Three Cambodian loggers shot to death by Thai soldiers on Monday have still not been repatriated to Cambodia, families of the deceased and police officials said yesterday.
The loggers, who had allegedly illegally crossed the border at Oddar Meanchey into Thailand, entered the forest on Saturday and never returned, border-commune police chief Luch Soy told the Post.
The families alerted authorities yesterday, concerned about the missing threesome. Local police contacted Thai border police and discovered the three men had been shot dead on Monday and the corpses were being held by the Thai authorities.
“The corpses are being examined at a hospital in Thailand, and we do not know when we will get these corpses back,” Cambodian-Thai border communication deputy chief Chi Sophal said.
The men had been logging luxury wood that is a popular export to China for furniture and which villagers in the area believe can also be used to make gun powder.
Rights group Adhoc said they were negotiating for the bodies of the loggers to be repatriated to Cambodia as soon as possible.
Chan Sovath, chief investigator for Adhoc, said that at least 11 Cambodian loggers had been shot dead by Thai border police so far this year, but only nine of the bodies had been repatriated.
“Cambodian citizens are taking a risk going into Thai territory, even though they know about the fatal shootings,” Chan Sovath said. “The Thai side never recognises that they are shooting Cambodian citizens, so there has not been a clear investigation into the shootings.”