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Military police to join in mining crackdown

More than 600 military police will be sent as reinforcements all over Cambodia today to aid the National Police, Ministry of Mines and Energy authorities and court officials as they inspect and crack down on illegal mining in the Kingdom.

At the ministry’s request, 612 military police will participate in the operation to stifle the increasing number of illegal mining activities in Cambodia, said military police spokesman Kheng Tito.

“We have to protect … and crack down,” Tito said. “Mostly they exploited the wild areas, so we need guns in our hands.”

There are currently three groups scouring Cambodia for illegal mining activities, but it’s unclear how the military police members will be divided to provide them support. Their main task, according to ministry Secretary of State Meng Saktheara – who is currently performing inspections in Mondulkiri – is to protect members of the groups currently on the ground.

“Some officers are threatened and since illegal businesspeople take risks, they are not satisfied when we crack down, so we face some dangers when we stop them,” Saktheara said.

Since January 8, the three groups have finished inspecting 10 provinces.

“The ministry is also working to set up a working group to study the legal process and judicial procedures to bring perpetrators to justice as well,” Saktheara said.

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