A local reporter was allegedly roughed up by a military official at Oddar Meanchey’s Chork Chey border checkpoint last week for taking photographs of alleged illegal migration by Cambodian workers to Thailand.
Preap Envattanak, a reporter with Neak Poan Television, was photographing workers crossing the checkpoint on Thursday with Mut Sarun, a reporter for newspaper Koh Santepheap, when Un Chan, deputy commander at border unit 503, tried to seize his camera.
“Then, he [Chan] tried to grab my press card, while I and another reporter were collecting information and taking photos of Cambodian people migrating into Thailand to work there illegally,” Envattanak said.
Sarun said the duo were looking to cooperate with military personnel but found none because they were dressed in plain clothes. “I regard the action of the military as a threat to information collection,” he added.
Chan admitted that he snatched Envattanak’s press credentials and kept them temporarily because Envattanak had not requested authorisation to take photos in an area controlled by this unit. “They invaded and took photos without any permission for safety, so we needed to seize his reporter card temporarily,” he said, adding that he was unsure if the duo were journalists or spies.
He also rubbished the claims that workers were migrating illegally, saying that about 100 Cambodians used that checkpoint to cross over and work on Thai farms before returning in the evenings.