Cambodia Summons Thai Ambassador Over Deaths of Loggers
By | March 24, 2014

Thailand’s ambassador to Cambodia was formally summoned on Friday to the Foreign Affairs Ministry over the shooting death last week of a Cambodian man who was among nine allegedly caught by soldiers cutting down forest across the country’s northwestern border with Thailand.

One man has been confirmed dead, two more are known to be wounded and six are missing after soldiers in an unspecified Thai province on Tuesday opened fire on the villagers, who were cutting down rosewood trees, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Kuy Kuong said on Friday.

Long Visalo, secretary of state at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, summoned Thai Ambassador Pakdi Touchayoot on Friday to accept a diplomatic note that requests a Thai police investigation into the death of the alleged logger, Mr. Kuong said at a news conference after the diplomatic meeting.

“His Excellency Long Visalo sent a protesting diplomatic note to the Thai government to find justice for the victims and to demand an investigation to find the hit men for punishment under the country’s own laws,” he said.

Mr. Kuong named the dead man as 38-year-old Van Vouch, whom he said had been killed unlawfully by Thai soldiers.

“This is an act that the Cambodian government notes is against international humanitarian law, and is not an act that occurs in countries with the rule of law,” Mr. Kuong said, adding that summary shootings of Cambodians suspected to be logging in Thailand also violates an agreement between the countries.

“His Excellency Long Visalo has also requested in his diplomatic note for Thai authorities to stop all such violating acts,” Mr. Kuong said. “We need the Thai authorities to obey their state laws and just punish [illegal Cambodian loggrs] by law.”

Mr. Kuong said the Cambodian government was doing its best to educate people against illegally entering Thailand for luxury rosewood.

Rights group Adhoc reported that 33 Cambodians were killed while logging in Thailand in 2013.

rith@cambodiadaily.com

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