Thai soldiers patrolling the border along Battambang’s Sampov Loun district arrested three Cambodians, including a mother and her two children, before allowing them to return home after determining their infraction was minor on Saturday.
District police chief Pich Saren said the family was simply collecting firewood when they were spotted by Thai soldiers.
“They crossed into Thai territory while collecting firewood,” he said. “The soldiers feared they were illegal loggers, but sent them to us for education after realising they were innocent.”
“They did not go far into Thailand,” he added.
The mother was identified as Nuth Phea, 38, who was briefly detained along with her 13-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter.
“They crossed into Thai territory with a cart, machete and axe just to collect firewood, not knowing anything was amiss,” Mr Saren said. “It’s easy to cross into the territory accidentally. Some villagers even defecate there.”
Mr Saren said his officers have a good relationship with Thai soldiers stationed there and the situation was quickly put to rest.
“Cambodian people living along the border were very upset about the arrest,” he said. “But we sorted it out easily and there were no major problems.”
“We have good cooperation with them, so they called us to go and pick them up and bring them home,” he added. “The Thai soldiers also hid the information from their superiors as well.”