Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thai troops built a border post 100 metres deep inside Khmer territory

On 14th January 2009, 35 heavily-armed Thai soldiers entered the same area at Choam Sa-Ngam to stop Khmer workers from building a fence to construct a casino.
9th March, 2009
By Sav Yuth
Radio Free Asia
Translated by Khmerization

Cambodian border guards based at Choam Sa-Ngam Border Checkpoint near Anlong Veng said that about 10 black-clad Thai soldiers crossed 100 metres into Khmer territory at Choam Sa-Ngam Border Checkpoint on 9th March to construct a border post there.

A Khmer border guard who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that on the afternoon of Sunday, 10 Thai soldiers entered 100 metres deep into Khmer territory to build a border post on top of a rubbish tip where Khmer villagers had used to dump their rubbish for a long time. They then started to build a wooden hut to use as a border post, but the hut was immediately demolished by the Khmer border guards and the Thai troops were then asked to leave.

The border guard said: "Our (Khmer) village stands here everyday. Yesterday, at around 5:30 to 6 o'clock in the afternoon they came in an attempt to build a border post there, we warned them not to and then they returned back to their base. And this morning they came at 6 o'clock in the morning to built their border post."

Maj. Toch Var, deputy chairman of Khmer-Thai Border Co-ordination Committee for Choam Sa-Ngam, said that those Thai soldiers were from company 2307 based in a barrack near the area.

Maj. Toch Var said that the Thai soldiers crossed into the area when they saw Khmer workers used bulldozers to bury the smelly rubbish in the tip. They said that they came in to secure the spot because they are concerned that the Khmers will construct the buildings on the spot. But they withdrew when he reported the incident to their commander.

Maj. Toch Var said: "They came in in an attempt to build a hut because they are concerned that we will build something on the spot. After we went to talk with their leaders, those troops withdrew."

However, a Thai official attached to the Khmer-Thai Border Co-Ordination Committee for Sisaket province, Mr. Sawang Prachumwong, said through telephone from Sisaket that he didn't know anything about Thai troops entering Khmer territory.

Chairman of Cambodian Border Committee, Mr. Var Kim Hong, said that the Thai had already set up their border post in Choam Sa-Ngam, therefore they have no right to come in (Khmer territory) to build another one. He said that the area has also been demarcated which part belong to Thailand and which part belong to Cambodia, so they cannot move further into Khmer territory.

Mr. Var Kim Hong said: "we have drawn the borderlines already in the area in question. If they want to move further into Khmer territory, we will absolutely never allow them to do that, they have no right to move deeper in (into Khmer territory). If they move any deeper into Khmer territory, it means that they are violating Khmer sovereignty."

Khmer border guards said that this is a second violation after a lone Thai soldier was arrested and detained on 26th February for illegally crossing into Khmer territory through Thkeam Romeas (Rhino's Jaw) Border Pass near the former Khmer refugee camp of Tatum in Ouddor Meanchey province. And on 27th February, another lone Thai soldier was spotted entering Khmer territory by carrying a 69-type land-mine with him. He was arrested near Ta Mok's former mango plantation and was detained by Khmer border police.

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