Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government denies planting land mine

Government denies planting land mine

Government denies planting land mine

Cambodia flatly denied allegations made by Thailand that it was responsible for planting the mine that severely injured a Thai soldier last week, saying the old landmines were laid by the Khmer Rouge more than 30 years ago.

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi told the Bangkok Post on Saturday that the incident was especially disappointing given the improving relations between the two countries.

“This was clearly in violation of Thai sovereignty and seriously injured a Thai soldier,” Thani said.

Sergeant Chatree Kaewprasan of the Thai 23rd Infantry Division was on a foot patrol in the disputed area near Preah Vihear temple on Wednesday night when a landmine blew off his right leg.

In a statement released the same day, Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the border between the two countries is still heavily contaminated by landmines and unexploded ordnance that were buried by the Khmer Rouge, sometimes in Thai territory, over the course of nearly three decades of war.

“The area near Preah Vihear temple where a mine was set off by a Thai soldier was previously a battle zone and a sanctuary of the Khmer Rouge forces, who must have laid many landmines to protect their position during the war,” read the statement. “It is extremely sad and disturbing that such baseless accusations are made against Cambodia, when mine explosions are still a common occurrence, even in places inhabited or cultivated for years after the war ended.”

Heng Ratana, director general of Cambodian Mine Action Centre, said areas along the Thai-Cambodian border remain heavily mined.

“We cleared the areas around the temple and the pagoda [Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvara] in 2008, and we collected a lot of landmines,” said Heng Ratana. “But since we had the border dispute, we stopped the activity. Cambodian soldiers have also stepped on mines along the border before, not just Thai people.”

A Thai army spokesman Col Prawit Hukaew said both the wounded sergeant’s legs had been amputated and that he was now out of danger.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cheang Sokha at [email protected]


  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman