This is a truly bizarre story. The details are a little sketchy and with only AFP covering this so far, I'm wondering what more there is to this story than has been reported. I shudder to think what the consequences would have been if they'd hit the plane. Can it really be that they simply opened fire with a machine gun because they weren't sure what kind of plane it was? The stupidity of such an action is beyond belief.
Cambodian troops fired shots at a passenger aircraft flying near the country's disputed border with Thailand, believing it to be a spy plane, the Thai army said Thursday.
"The Cambodian military fired because there was a Thai passenger plane — Bangkok Airways — which could not land at Siem Reap airport because of bad weather," said deputy army spokesman Colonel Sirichan Ngathong.
"It was misunderstood by Cambodia to be spy plane," he said, adding that no one was hurt in the incident near the northern Cambodian tourist destination of Siem Reap.
Cambodian military at the border — the site of deadly territorial clashes between the neighbouring countries last year — confirmed troops had opened fire at an aircraft.
"It was dark so we could not see what type of plane it was. But it was circling many times and then our soldiers fired 18 shots from a machine gun, but it missed the plane because it was flying very high," Commander Seng Phearin told AFP.
Update: Nation is reporting that the incident might not have happened at all, which would make the quotes in the AFP story above look rather odd:
A Thai commercial aircraft came under warning shots while flying over Sa Kaew near the Thai-Cambodian border, according to an unconfirmed report yesterday evening, with the Foreign Ministry saying it was checking the unaccredited claim.
Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul told reporters in Phnom Penh that there was no such shooting by Cambodia at the commercial flight.
Having made thorough checks of several agencies and the airline, as well as the Cambodian commander and Thai military attache in Phnom Penh, Surapong had received no confirmation of such an incident, he said.