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Laos logging incident sees man shot, injured

Laos logging incident sees man shot, injured

A Cambodian man was injured last week after Lao authorities shot him while he was illegally logging rosewood in Laos’ Champasak district, near Stung Treng province, authorities said yesterday.

Siem Pang district police chief Var Sophan told the Post yesterday that 27-year-old Sarin Da was accompanied by eight other “tresspassers”.

“[Sarin Da] was shot in the leg by Lao patrols with an AK-47 rifle while cutting the trunk of a rosewood tree,” Var Sophan said.

“The victim was rescued to Cambodia by his counterparts” and is now recovering in district hospital, he added.

Hor Sam Ol, provincial investigator for rights group Adhoc, condemned the shooting yesterday, saying, “Laos’ authority should not open fire over Cambodians … Firing at civilians is illegal and violent”.

Meanwhile, Var Sophan also announced that district authorities had negotiated with their Lao counterparts to secure the release of 16 Cambodians currently being held in Laos for illegal logging.

Although he did not provide a specific date for the release, the police chief said the men would be repatriated some time “before Khmer New Year”.

“We do not know how much money we will give to the Laos side, but normally the victim’s family has to pay for food and travel costs,” he said.

Last week, officials said the rate to release detained Cambodian loggers varied depending on the length of detention.

Typically families pay between $300 and $500.

The announcement comes amidst a spate of recent cases involving repatriated loggers.

On Wednesday, four Cambodian loggers who had been jailed in Thailand since 2009, along with two men arrested the previous week for illegally crossing the Thai-Cambodian border, were returned to the Kingdom.

Last Tuesday, seven Cambodians who had been detained in Laos for illegal logging and two Cambodians who had been held in Thailand were released.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tep Nimol at [email protected]

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