After Thai rocket fire destroys homes and businesses near Preah Vihear temple complex, affected residents ask the Thai military to pay up.
Some 260 people who had property destroyed by Thai rockets in early April near the Preah Vihear temple complex have given their thumb prints to a document requesting compensation from the Thai military.
On April 3, Thai soldiers opened fire with machine guns and rocket launchers in a firefight that left three Thai soldiers dead and, according the Khmer Civilisation Foundation, destroyed 147 Cambodian houses. Now, the community and the foundation want Thailand to pay compensation for the damages.
"They gave us their thumb prints, and we will ask the [Cambodian] government to complain to the Thai government to get compensation from them," Moeung Sonn, president of the Khmer Civilisation Foundation, said by phone on Sunday during a visit to Preah Vihear.
Moeung Sonn says that it is only fair for Thailand to recompense the families because in the past Thailand has asked Cambodia for compensation.
"Before, the Thai government asked the Cambodian government to pay for damages to the Thai embassy and Thai citizens' properties during anti-Thai riots in Phnom Penh, and now we will ask our government to get compensation from the Thai government for our people."
The Cambodian Centre for Human Rights is still investigating the firefight to determine if Thailand committed any crimes, but acknowledged that Cambodian property was destroyed.
"We saw damage to the temple and that people's properties were destroyed by the Thai military," said Ou Virak, director of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights.
"If we find that the Thai military intentionally targeted civilians and their property, that would be a war crime," he said.
Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Sunday that the ministry has already sent a complaint to the Thai embassy regarding the destruction of Cambodian property, but they have yet to receive a response.