Following reports that seven Cambodians were allegedly shot dead last week while trying to illegally log across the border in Thailand, diplomatic officials announced yesterday that representatives from both countries would meet on May 8 to discuss border safety.
Sek Samorn, deputy director of the Cambodian-Thai Border Office, told the Post yesterday that the planned talks arose out of repeated illegal – and sometimes fatally violent – activity along the border.
“Because of problems that keep happening and the shooting deaths of Cambodians, we will meet,” he said. “There is also talk about not just logging but other illegal cross-border workers.”
The meeting is scheduled to take place Wednesday in Poipet in the northern border province of Banteay Meanchey. Long Visalo, secretary of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will sit down with his Thai counterpart, Jullapong Nonsrichai, according to an official statement.
Joint patrols along the Thai-Cambodian frontier could be established as a result, the statement said, with the aim of preventing people “from crossing the border illegally to log rosewood in Thai territory and to avoid shooting dead [sic] by Thai soldiers.”
Talks on border security were announced mere days after two military sources on Sunday told the Post that seven Cambodians were shot just after midnight on Friday morning. Authorities later named four of them, but none of the corpses have been repatriated.
The identities of the four were listed as Pop Thy, 37, from Kampong Thom province; Touch Yim, 52, also from Kampong Thom; Kampong Speu resident Yem Yen, 32; and Samnang Kosal, 31, from Oddar Meanchey.
Keo Tann, police chief of Oddar Meanchey’s Trapaing Prasat district, said he knew the exact names of the four loggers because others who went across the border to log with them had reported back to local authorities.
Even though they have not seen the body, relatives of Kosal, in Trapaing Prasat, already believe he is not coming back, Tann added. “We just assumed that four people are missing, but their relatives believe they have died.
Samnang Kosal’s relatives held the funeral for him on Tuesday with only his photo,” he said.