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Cambodian among Bangkok casualties

Cambodian among Bangkok casualties

Although a Cambodian bystander was shot in the back with live ammunition as anti-government protesters clashed with pro-government Red Shirts in Bangkok on Saturday, the Foreign Ministry will not follow other governments in issuing a travel warning or caution, a spokesman said yesterday.

Thirty-year-old Bun Rattana, a migrant construction worker from Svay Rieng province, was watching street clashes outside a sport stadium near his worksite on Saturday when he caught a stray bullet, ministry spokesman Koy Koung said.

The weekend clashes left several dead and more than 100 injured.

“He was sent to Dr Panya General Hospital near the area in order to get treatment. Since Monday our officials in Bangkok have visited and checked the victim’s condition at the hospital under the care of Thai doctors. He is alive,” Koung said.

A nurse at the hospital confirmed to the Post via telephone that Rattana was in stable condition.

“The wound is not serious, and he is staying at our hospital,” she said.

Protesters clashed with police firing rubber bullets outside government buildings in the capital yesterday, with live ammunition found at one of the clash sites, as their efforts to topple the administration of embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra continued, the Bangkok Post reported.

At least 32 countries have issued travel warnings to their citizens against visiting Thailand out of safety concerns, the National News Bureau of Thailand has reported.

But despite Saturday’s incident, the Cambodian government has yet to issue any warning or caution of its own to nationals either living in or travelling to Thailand.

Moeun Tola, head of the labour program at the Community Legal Education Center, said government officials were acting “irresponsibly” in failing to warn Cambodians – especially the many migrant workers living in Thailand – about the protests.

“The Thai political crisis has long reached a level of concern and Cambodian government leaders or the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok should announce to the people, especially Cambodian workers who are living and working in Thailand, to be careful,” he said.

But Koung responded yesterday that the street demonstrations had been ongoing for some time, meaning Cambodians were already well-aware of the risk of violence.

“Cambodian tourists, sellers and workers already know about the violent protests in Thailand and the heated political environment,” he said.

“We believe that our people have crystal clear knowledge about this problem and how to protect themselves from it. The demonstrations are not occurring in every part of the country … so we do not want to make any announcements that could confuse our people.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KEVIN PONNIAH

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