Thai forces 'kill 38 Cambodian loggers in six months'
PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Thai forces shot dead 38 Cambodians in the first half of this year for illegally crossing the border to log for valuable timber, according to the Cambodian authorities.
A further 10 Cambodians were injured in incidents with Thai border forces and 194 were arrested, though not all of them on suspicion of illegal logging, the Cambodia-Thailand Border Relations Office said in a report dated Aug 12.
The number of fatalities dwarfs the toll last year when around 11 alleged Cambodian loggers were reported killed over a 12-month period, according to statistics collected by local rights group Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC).
Mr Nicolas Agostini, a technical assistant at ADHOC, blamed the spike in deaths on a growing number of frontier residents willing to risk their lives to escape poverty.