A man in Koh Kong province was severely injured on Monday after stepping on a landmine in a stretch of undemarcated borderland between Cambodia and Thailand, a military official with Border Unit 303 confirmed.
The victim, Sok Pek, 37, is from Koh Kong province’s Mondul Seima district, said Teab To, deputy commander of Border Unit 303.
The victim and his brother were clearing a forest area when the victim stepped on a landmine and injured both of his legs, To said. The victim’s left leg was completely torn off, while his right leg was severely injured and will need surgery, he confirmed.
“That location is a dangerous, mine-filled area that was used as a battlefield in the 1980s,” To said, adding that clearing the forest is illegal because the location is part of the Cambodia-Thailand border area that has yet to be demarcated.
Another military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the victim entered the prohibited forest area to log timber from the border zone, a crime that carries heavy legal penalties.
When he and his troops arrived at the site, they found a truck filled with logs bogged down in the mud, and the victim lying unconscious about 20 metres from the forest road, the official said.
The victim is now in the Ketomealea Hospital in Phnom Penh awaiting surgery, local authorities said. It is unclear whether he will be charged over the alleged illegal logging.
The victim’s brother, who works in the military unit that discovered the victim, could not be reached for comment.