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Thailand Denies Role in Border Shootings

The Thai Embassy issued a statement Saturday denying Thai border officials were involved in a shooting Thursday that led to the deaths of two Cambodians, but a Thai official said Monday an investigation will be conducted.

The shootings were the result of human trafficking, the Thai statement said.

It On, 25, and Chea Phal, 6, were allegedly shot Thursday afternoon on the Thai side of an informal border crossing at Bantey Meanchey province. Witnesses said Friday the shooter was a Thai border patrolman.

Thai authorities will conduct an investigation into the shooting, which took place on Thai soil, Thai First Secretary Chaturont Chaiyakam told VOA Khmer Monday.

"The Thai military and the Thai authorities did not commit the killing," he said. "We try to prevent the people from smuggling into Thailand. You know, it's dangerous if you cross the border because there are criminals, Cambodian or Thai, along the border."

Tim Sareth, deputy director of the Ministry of Interior's Cambodia-Thai coordination office, said Cambodia's representative to Sre Keo province had sent a letter to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs urging an arrest in Thursdays' shootings.