On 26 April, Thai army spokesperson Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd spoke on a Channel 3 news programme about military clashes on the Thai-Cambodian border in Surin, saying that the Thai army was not on the defensive, and it hit back harder every time Cambodian troops fired at Thai soldiers.
‘When they scratch us, we slap them in the head,’ said Col Sansern.
He claimed that losses on the Cambodian side were ‘tens of times’ more than on the Thai side, adding that the Thai army did not want to go any further, because that would start a war.
If Cambodia thinks that it can tolerate the losses caused by Thailand’s retaliation, let’s fight on, the colonel said.
He denied that the Thai army had dropped bombs from airplanes or used poisonous gas, claiming that there were ‘hundreds of reporters’, both Thai and foreign, at the border who could check the facts.
He did not refute claims made by Cambodia’s Defense Ministry that the Thai army had damaged Ta Muen Thom and Ta Kwai temples, saying that if Cambodian troops hid in the temples and fired, Thai troops had to fire back.
If Cambodia does not want the temples to get damaged, it has to retreat, he said.
He said that the fact that the Cambodian troops had invaded and occupied the temples just over a week ago showed Cambodia’s intention to provoke clashes.
The crying in front of television cameras by Cambodia’s Defense Ministry spokesperson was an overreaction, as no soldier would cry publicly, he said, adding that the spokesperson might have watched too many soap operas on Thai Channel 3 television.