Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Troops sent to Ratanakkiri border area

Troops sent to Ratanakkiri border area

Troops sent to Ratanakkiri border area

Almost 1,000 Cambodian soldiers have been deployed along the Vietnamese border in Ratanakkiri province in an effort to combat crimes including “illegal immigration”, military officials said yesterday.

Lam Thuon, acting police chief in Paknhai commune, where 50 soldiers have been stationed, said that troops began being deployed to the border on Thursday.

“I asked them [the military] why they were being deployed; they said that it is to combat all kinds of crimes and offences happening at the border, or across the border,” he said.

Ratanakkiri military commander Kham Sok confirmed that “nearly 1,000 [troops] have been deployed” but declined to comment further.

Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, said the soldiers were likely there to stop timber smugglers and asylum seekers.

Since October, dozens of Montagnards – an indigenous group from Vietnam’s central highlands – have fled to Ratanakkiri citing alleged persecution.

A local villager who has been helping groups of Montagnards said the troops were there to “cut the route” of future arrivals.

Thuon, the police chief, acknowledged that efforts were being made to stop “migrants” from crossing the border.

Wan Hea-Lee, country representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that “while there is nothing inherent in the act of sending troops to a border that contravenes the [Refugee] Convention, the troops should understand that their duties include guaranteeing asylum seekers safe passage to those procedures”.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALICE CUDDY

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia’s image problem

    In opening remarks at a recent event, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luy David said information can be a double-edged sword. He told a European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS) briefing seminar that the media has unfairly presented

  • PM Hun Sen says dangers averted

    Delivering a campaign speech from his home via Facebook Live on Thursday, caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen said his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had carried the country through danger in its latest mandate. He was specifically referring to the threat of a “colour revolution”

  • Bumpy road for local ride apps

    Ride-hailing services seem to have grown into a dominant player in the capital’s transportation sector. Relatively unknown and little used in the Kingdom at the beginning of this year, services like PassApp, Grab and ExNet are now commonplace on Phnom Penh streets. However, the

  • Hun Sen lays out party’s platform

    Caretaker Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday credited liberating Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge as among the reasons why people will vote for his ruling Cambodian People Party (CPP) in the July 29 national elections. Hun Sen, who has held the reins of power in Cambodia