Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thai planes flew 30 kilometres deep inside Khmer territory

Source: Reaksmei Kampuchea newspaper

Reported in English by Khmerization

Thai jet fighters have allegedly violated Cambodian airspace three times in recent weeks, some as deep as 30 kilometres inside Khmer territories.

Gen. Bun Seng, commander of the Cambodian Military Region 5, said at 10:20 am on 12th August a Thai jet fighter had caused a stir to the local population when it flew at low altitude over Pailin market (pictured), 30 kilometres from the Khmer-Thai border. The violation had really upset the Cambodian military, but the Thai side immediately sent a letter of apology by saying that the plane had mistakenly flew into Cambodian territory.

The apology did not satisfy the Cambodian military who said the violation is a sheer insult on Cambodian sovereignty and wanted the Thai side to apologise personally.

According to Gen. Bun Seng, Thai planes had flew deep inside Cambodian territory three times in recent weeks with spy planes flying off from Chantaburi-Trat Air Base. He said: "This an insult to the Cambodian Military Region 5 based in the areas who are trying to protect the Cambodian territorial integrity."

Mr. Chim Pheuy, commander of Division 52 based at Pailin-Samlaut areas, said since July 25th Thai planes had at least violated Cambodian airspace deep inside Khmer territories three times. He said on 3rd August, a Thai jet fighters flew over Ratanak Mondul, more than 30 kilometres deep inside Khmer territories, and flew back to Thailand through Border Pass Fifteen near Samlaut.

On 4th, another jet fighter flew over Phsar Proum village before turning back to Thailand. The last violation happened on 12th August when a jet fighter flew at low altitude over Pailin Market which has caused shoppers to panic.

Gen. Chim Pheum warned: "From now onward, we don't care if they are Thai jet fighters or civilian planes, if they dare to fly deep into our territories again, the Cambodian troops will show them our skills so the Thai will not look down on the Cambodian army again."

A Cambodian military source said before these violations by Thai jet fighters, a Thai helicopter had once flew over Pailin, but because it did not fly too deep inside Khmer territory the Cambodian side did not protest.

Mr. Ee Chhean, Governor of Pailin province, said in regard to the violation over Pailin Market on 12th August that the Thai commander of the Chantaburi-Trat Air Base had written a letter of apology to the Cambodian Military Region 5. He said these are serious violations that warrant a public apology. He wants the Thai side to come to apologise publicly at the Pailin Town Hall to clarify their mistakes and to promise not to repeat the violations over Cambodian territorial integrity again.

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