An illegal logger was shot and badly injured yesterday morning by Thai soldiers after crossing the border from Preah Vihear province with six other Cambodians.
Police said the group of seven entered Thailand from Choam Ksan district’s Sra Em commune early Wednesday morning but were spotted by Thai soldiers who opened fire at them.
Sam Kuon, 26, from Keamony village in Kampong Speu province, was hit in the right buttock, according to Sra Em Deputy Police Chief Ouch Oeun.
“Thai soldiers fired four or five times and one Cambodian was hit in the right bottom,” Oeun said. “The others just ran for their lives and only two people brought the injured one back home.”
Sol Heang, 28, and Bun Roth, 30, brought Kuon to the hospital but then fled, according to Oeun.
Mork Bun Thorn, 35, a friend of Kuon’s, said his friend had entered Thailand to move timber hidden in the forest near the border when Thai soldiers spotted them.
“He tried to run until he reached Cambodian land and then he fell down,” Bun Thorn said. “If he hadn’t managed to reach Cambodia, he might be shot dead already.”
In years past, it was not uncommon for Thai authorities to shoot suspected Cambodian loggers crossing the border, prompting a series of sharply-worded diplomatic notes from Cambodia.
Those incidents have since tapered off: In 2013, 69 Cambodians were fatally shot by Thai soldiers. Last year, only two were.
Lor Chan, Adhoc’s provincial coordinator in Preah Vihear, said arrests of suspected illegal loggers continue to happen but have lessened in recent years.