The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) cracked down on nearly 3,000 crimes along the Kingdom’s borders in the first six months of this year, Ministry of National Defence spokesperson Chhum Socheat said on Wednesday.
The cases consisted mostly of forestry crimes and instances of illegal border crossing, with Cambodia continuing to strengthen cooperation with neighbouring countries, he added.
Socheat was speaking at a conference hosted by the ministry to highlight the RCAF’s achievements during the first six months of this year.
The event was held on Wednesday and presided over by Minister of National Defence Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister.
Socheat said the RCAF had cracked down on 2,981 crimes near the Kingdom’s borders so far this year.
Operations along the Thai-Cambodian border resulted in 1,289 cases being intercepted, while 1,179 crimes were busted near the frontier with Vietnam.
The remaining 513 crackdowns came along the Lao border.
“The RCAF continued to strengthen national defence near the country’s borders, carried out patrols and cracked down on all kinds of illegal activity, including forestry crimes and instances of illegal border crossing."
“Cooperation was carried out with neighbouring countries to resolve a myriad of cross-border issues in a peaceful manner,” Socheat said.
Illegal logging and unauthorised border crossing were still the dominant cases RCAF encountered, he added.
Socheat said the improved security situation along the Kingdom’s borders in the first six months of this year, compared with last year, was due to increased coordination with the local communities.
“The armed forces frequently met with them near the border,” he said.
Soeung Sen Karuna, spokesman for rights group Adhoc, said the number of crimes intercepted this year remained high.
He said the figures showed that law enforcement by authorities along Cambodia’s borders was still “lax and limited”.
Sen Karuna urged the government to crack down harder on those committing border crime.
“The authorities have failed to duly enforce the law. Crimes such as logging and illegal border crossing continue to occur because there may be collusion between high-ranking government officials and the perpetrators,” he said.
According to Socheat, the military cracked down on 5,193 crimes along the Kingdom’s borders last year, up from 2017.