One Cambodian man was arrested by Thai authorities on Monday while three others escaped after the foursome attempted to cross the border to allegedly log rosewood in Thailand’s Sisaket province opposite Cambodia’s Oddar Meanchey province.
Toch Ra, director of Cambodian-Thai Border Relations at Chorm International Border Checkpoint in Anlong Veng district, told the Post yesterday that his Thai counterpart informed him that Chheang Phat, 41, had been detained and was awaiting to stand trial in a Thai court. “We don’t have information about the number of arrests or how many have been shot dead at the border if our Thai counterpart, himself, is not informed,” Ra said.
He said his Thai counterpart told him that from January until now, he knew of two Cambodian men who had been shot to death while logging rosewood in Thailand.
In late April, reports emerged that at least three and as many as seven Cambodians who had crossed into Thailand to illegally log from Oddar Meanchey province had been killed, though a final number of dead was never confirmed.
In 2012, at least 45 Cambodians were shot dead by Thai soldiers while crossing the border, a tripling of the 2011 death count. That grisly toll and potential measures to prevent future shootings will be among the issues on the table when Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong meets with his Thai counterpart, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, next week in Phnom Penh.
The two foreign ministers are set are set to meet on Tuesday to discuss a broad number of border-related issues, following up from a meeting in May that was organised to address the continual shootings.
Long Visalo, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said late last month that Cambodia and Thailand each planned to create 15 new border patrol teams that would interact and share information about Cambodians crossing the border into Thailand.