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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Logger alleged killed by Thai border patrol

One Cambodian man was killed and another wounded after they were caught logging illegally across the border in Thailand, officials said Sunday, the latest in a spate of such shootings by Thai security forces.

Dy Phen, director of the border relations office in Banteay Meanchey province, said the pair were part of a group of seven loggers from Thma Puok district who came under fire from troops in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province on Friday.

The group then bore the injured back to Cambodia without being apprehended or informing the Cambodian authorities, he added.

“The body was returned to the man’s family members on the same day as the shooting,” Dy Phen said. “They didn’t report to local authorities because they were afraid we would investigate their case and ask them who encouraged them to go to Thailand.”

Last month, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong met with his Thai counterpart Kasit Piromya, reportedly discussing the shootings of Cambodian loggers by Thai troops. Hor Namhong said following the meeting that Kasit had agreed that Thai authorities would be more lenient with trespassers.

On the same day as the talks, however, two Cambodians were killed by troops in Thailand’s Sisaket province. Cambodian officials claimed the loggers were attacked by the troops, though Thai Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said the soldiers were acting in self-defence.

“They were fired upon by [the loggers’] guards, who were armed, so the patrol had fired back in defence,” Thani said at the time.

Following the incident, the government sent a diplomatic note to Thailand inquiring about the shooting.

“I will use serious words to emphasise that the shooting is a cruel act and is unbecoming of a civilised country,” Hor Namhong said at the time.

Chan Soveth, head of monitoring for local rights group Adhoc, said Sunday that his organisation had recorded 16 Cambodians killed by Thai soliders near the border in 2010, with 29 killed since tensions between the two countries broke out in 2008.

“They should use the law in these situations, not violence,” Chan Soveth said.

Thai officials could not be reached for comment Sunday.
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A day of fun and celebration for children

Thai kids enjoyed special treats and fun activities provided by state agencies, organisations and companies as the country celebrated National Children's Day yesterday.

By The Nation on Sunday

At Government House, in keeping with tradition every year, children formed a long queue for a chance to sit on the prime minister's seat in the Thai Khu Fa building.

Among the children were 13 whose parents were killed in the Southern unrest. They were taken to meet PM Abhisit Vejjajiva who greeted them.

Nine-year-old Alimin Waetingwae from Narathiwat said the premier's seat was soft. He also said that Abhisit was handsome and that he too wanted to become a prime minister in future

Abhisit had earlier presided over the event hosted by the Education Ministry at Sanam Suapa and another by the Metropolitan Police before his meeting with 241 Thai Student Council representatives. He also attended a videoconference with youth representatives of four regions at Government House.

The prime minister was guarded by the "little rangers" security volunteers. He gave an interview to a special television programme by the Thai youth news centre. Abhisit said that if he could ask for three blessings for Thai kids he would want them to be good, capable and happy.
At Parliament, children watched in awe a light and sound show of a 3D House meeting in which they saw PM Abhisit explaining a fiscal matter, House Speaker Chai Chidchob performing his duty and MP Chalerm Yoobumrung giving a speech. They also got a chance to act as news broadcasters from a mock-up TV studio and to learn about Thai politics and royal projects from the exhibition there.

Many military bases also hosted special events for kids and were a popular choice for parents to take their kids to yesterday. The Defence Ministry headquarters in Bangkok hosted many games. There were plenty of photo opportunities for kids to pose with military machines, and also the opportunity to ride one of 32 horses.

At the 14 October 73 Memorial on Rajadamnoen Avenue, democracy advocates and red-shirt supporters hosted an event titled "children love democracy, don't play with soldiers and don't accept dictatorship", in which children were taught to make paper birds, as a symbol of peace.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) also celebrated the day by granting 500 scholarships to underprivileged kids, while providing fun activities for kids at most city parks, the Thai-Japanese Youth Centre in Din Daeng as well as other 37 youth centres, 10 sport centres and 34 libraries.

At the Nation Tower in Bang Na, the Nation Group yesterday morning hosted a fun event for kids. Besides playing games for gifts and colouring pictures, the kids also got a chance to try recording their voice at a news studio and had their image printed on the cover of Kom Chad Leuk newspaper.

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