Cambodian-Thai border protection officials said yesterday that authorities are attempting to intervene on behalf of four Cambodian citizens detained in Thailand after allegedly crossing the border to illegally cut trees.
On the night of October 12, eight people allegedly crossed from Preah Vihear province into Thailand to log in a protected area in Bunrathany province’s Soung commune. A day later, Thai authorities told Cambodian border officials that four Cambodian men had been shot dead and another four arrested in Thai territory.
Pich Vanna, deputy chief of the Cambodian-Thai border relations office, told the Post yesterday that he had “contacted the general consul in Thailand to intervene to help the four Cambodians being detained in Thailand”, but had not yet heard back.
Pich Vanna said that prior to the day of the shootings, his office had received two letters from Thai authorities demanding that people living in Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear provinces refrain from illegally crossing the Thai border and logging in protected areas.
Hor Neath, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said that the shootings ran contrary to international conventions and that he would request that Thai authorities halt the use of armed force against Cambodians in all matters – except for in cases of potential murder.
He added that “the government should contact the Thai government to [obtain the] release of the four men in detention in Thailand”.
Sok Hai, governor of Preah Vihear province’s Chamskan district, denied reports that the eight men in question hailed from Chamskan district.
The governor said that, according to information he got from Thailand, “the four Cambodians shot to death by the Thais and the other four detained in Thailand are not from Chamskan district – they are from Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu and Takeo provinces”.