Two Cambodians who say they unintentionally crossed into Thailand – apparently while chasing an endangered pangolin – were shot by an unknown assailant with what was believed to be an air-gun on Wednesday.
Reoum Roem, 30, from Banteay Meanchey province, was shot in the hip, according to authorities. His companion Srey Pheakdey, 29, was shot in his leg and back.
Both are recuperating at a hospital in Thailand after being shot on the other side of the border near where Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces meet, according to Srey Sokhun, commander of Border Unit 817. Sokhun rejected local media reports that the men were chicken thieves.
Though one gave police a vague answer about arranging cockfights, the other said they found a pangolin “in the forest next to the border and it tried to run away to Thailand to the village where they were shot”.
Sokhun called on Thai authorities to find the gunman.
Such illegal crossings have historically been dangerous. Thai soldiers fatally shot two Cambodians and injured seven last year after catching them making border crossings.