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NGO: Border families should ask Thailand to pay $9 mln for property damage

Written By vibykhmer on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | 9:39 PM



April 23, 2009
Source: Xinhua

Border families should ask for nine million U.S. dollars from Thailand to compensate for their damaged houses and markets as a result of recent bilateral armed clashes, national media said on Thursday.
Direct asset loss was estimated at 1.2 million U.S. dollars, but Thailand should pay much more for the trauma of the residents, so the total amount of Thai compensation should top nine million U.S. dollars, Chinese-language daily newspaper the Commercial News quoted the Khmer Civilization Fund (KCF) as saying.

KCF and other non-governmental organizations had visited the border area to study the residents' loss, and a report has been lodged to country leaders and officials at various levels, said KCF which represented the compensation seekers.

On Tuesday, KCF told reporters that 147 Cambodian families near the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple had asked Thailand to pay for the damage of their properties.

The houses with 260 inhabitants were burnt down, as two rounds of heavy gunfire exchange occurred on April 3 near the temple, according to KCF.

Rocket bombs hit their houses and then led to total damage, it said, adding that the house owners were strongly dissatisfied with such behavior and demanded that Thailand should pay for the loss.

The April 3 military confrontations took place after well-armed Thai troops intruded on Cambodian lands.

"It is very regrettable that Thai armed intrusions continue to occur repeatedly in the same areas" near the border, and "these acts of violation have compelled the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) to exercise their rights to self-defense and to protect the Cambodian territorial integrity," said a statement issued by the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation right after the accidents.

Since July 2008, troops from both sides have stationed near the Preah Vihear temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and two armed confrontations last year sparked brief concerns of war.

The two neighboring countries have never fully demarcated their disputed 800-km-long border, mainly due to their different interpretations of historical maps and the landmines left over from decades of civil war in Cambodia.

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