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Border Group Seeks $9 Million From Thais

Moeung Son, the chairman of the Khmer Civilization Foundation, requested $9.2 million in compensation from the Thai government for the destruction of Cambodian property near Preah Vihear temple during cross-border fighting earlier this month.

Skirmishes between Thai and Cambodian security forces April 3 led to the deaths of at least two Thai soldiers and the destruction under mortar fire of a Cambodian market and houses of 261 families.

Moeung Son told reporters at a press conference he had taken up a thumb-print petition over the weekend, of families that lost their homes in the fighting, which he used to file a complaint through the Thai Embassy Thursday morning.

“The Thai government must be completely responsible for all the destruction of people’s property because of the fighting,” Moeung Son said. “We must struggle to demand compensation from the Thai government for the destruction of property, the loss of jobs and psychological suffering.”

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the request was “very important” in demanding the Thais take responsibility for the damages.

“It shows the civil society’s duty to protect the Cambodian people and the country’s interest,” he said.

The government has collected evidence of the destruction in the April fighting and has sent some documentation to the Thai government already, he said.

Thai Embassy officials could not be reached for comment.