Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai border shooting injures two loggers



Thai border shooting injures two loggers

One of the two illegal loggers shot by Thai soldiers yesterday receives medical attention. Seventeen loggers in all were shot at after crossing the border into Thailand.
One of the two illegal loggers shot by Thai soldiers yesterday receives medical attention. Seventeen loggers in all were shot at after crossing the border into Thailand. Photo supplied

Thai border shooting injures two loggers

Thai soldiers opened fire on a group of 17 illegal loggers yesterday evening, wounding two, police said.

The group had illegally crossed the border into Thailand in Oddar Meanchey province under cover of darkness when they encountered a Thai patrol, according to Brigadier General Men Leu, chief of the provincial police department.

All the loggers managed to make it back to Cambodian soil, but two of the group sustained gunshot wounds, he added.

“They were shot by Thai soldiers while they were illegally crossing the border to cut luxury trees in Thailand,” he said. “Two villagers were shot and injured. One man was shot and got seriously injured on his left arm. And another man was shot . . . in the back of his neck.”

The two injured loggers were being treated for their injuries at the provincial hospital last night and were in stable condition.

The two men – Vun Vann, 25, and Sok Samay, 38 – are from Trapaing Prasat district’s Chey Nivoath village.

Major Sok Rith, deputy chief of the district police, said the men had likely been hired by local timber traders to log Siamese rosewood, which can fetch sky-high sums when sold on to Chinese and Vietnamese buyers.

“Our police have educated the villagers about not crossing the borders to cut trees in Thailand . . . but some of them don’t listen to us,” Rith said.

So far this year, eight people have allegedly been killed by Thai security forces after entering Thailand illegally to log rosewood while a further 20 have been reported injured, according to local rights group Adhoc.

Srey Narin, the NGO’s Oddar Meanchey coordinator, said that the area around where the two men were inured yesterday had seen the highest number of incidents.

“I think the main reason that the provincial police could not stop villagers from illegally entering Thailand to cut trees is because they [the authorities] are behind the luxury timber businesses in the province,” Narin said.

“They get benefits from them, so they allow villagers to log.”

A Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

In June, an Australian researcher found that the modern Cambodian state has been shaped by the collection of money from illegal logging, which has profited a relatively small politically connected elite and ensured the ruling party’s grip on the state apparatus.

The study reported staggering incomes from logging operations, including estimated daily revenue of $500,000 from a single timber business in Mondulkiri province.

Prime Minister Hun Sen passed a decree in 2013 explicitly banning the harvesting, transportation and sale of Siamese rosewood in Cambodia without the issuance of special permits.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants