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Gov’t seeks inquiry in Thai border shooting

Gov’t seeks inquiry in Thai border shooting

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday called on Thailand to open an investigation into the alleged killing last week of a man illegally crossing the border and urged the authorities to stop using force against Cambodians who enter the country without permission.

In a statement on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said that acting Foreign Minister Long Visalo had earlier that day presented a diplomatic note to the Thai ambassador to Cambodia, Touchayoot Pakdi.

The note called for an investigation into the alleged shooting of nine Cambodians who attempted to cross illegally into Thailand on Tuesday, which led to the death of 38-year-old Van Vouch. The note did not specify if the group were crossing in search of work or attempting to illegally log.

“Nine of our people crossed the border into Thai territory and [were] met by Thai soldiers [who] shot one of nine dead,” Kuong said. “[We] demand to have an investigation to find the shooter [and for that person] to be convicted.”

The Foreign Ministry also urged the Thai authorities to use “peaceful measures” to arrest and prosecute those found entering their territory illegally.

Sok Hai, governor of Choam Ksan district where people regularly cross into Thailand, told the Post he had not heard about the alleged shooting.

Major General Phat Sophen, chief of Cambodian-Thai Border relations in Preah Vihear province, also said that he had not heard about this case, adding that many Cambodians have been injured and shot dead while attempting to cross the border.

“We receive information from the Thai side about the arrests and shootings regularly,” he said.

Earlier this month, officials claimed that 15 Cambodians were killed by Thai security forces in two separate incidents after illegally crossing the border to log timber.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said that more needs to be done.

“This is not an isolated incident . . . The Cambodian government itself does not do enough to stop it,” he said.

“All of these incidents show that the Thai government isn’t about to change. The real question is ‘Will they properly investigate it?’ And the answer is ‘no’.”

The Thai embassy and the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALICE CUDDY

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