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Border incident accounts clash

Border incident accounts clash

Cambodia and Thailand are in disagreement over whether one of two aircrafts Cambodian armed forces fired at last night was a military plane or a Thai Airways passenger plane.

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officials said two Thai military planes had crossed illegally into Cambodian air space over Banteay Meanchey last night, drawing what they termed warning shots from anti-aircraft installations.

So Chan Heng, commander of RCAF’s Division 51, said the two patrolling planes flew from O’Lahong village in Malai district to the international checkpoint in Poipet.

“Thai planes violated our air space with the intention of spying, but we did not shoot the planes down. We had just shot as a warning in order to show that the planes must fly properly inside Thai air space,” Heng said.

But a Thai army official said that Cambodian troops had actually mistakenly fired at a Bangkok Airways passenger flight.

“The Cambodian military fired because there was a Thai passenger plane – Bangkok Airways – which could not land at Siem Reap airport because of bad weather,” said deputy army spokesman Colonel Sirichan Ngathong.

He added that no one was hurt during the incident.

The incident came a day before Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is due to address a high-level business conference in Siem Reap.

Yingluck will meet separately with Prime Minister Hun Sen to discuss the long-simmering border dispute around the Preah Vihear temple.

To contact the reporters on this story: Vong Sokheng at [email protected]
Khouth Sophak Chakrya at [email protected]
With assistance from AFP

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