Kampong Thom Provincial Court yesterday charged two suspected illegal loggers over a standoff with police, which saw some 30 people armed with sticks, axes and machetes raid a Forestry Administration (FA) office in a bid to recover confiscated logging equipment.
Sot Mary, chief of the FA office in Kampong Thma commune, said In Tin, 37, and Teat Pe, 39, attempted to disguise themselves as National Police officers as they forced their way into the department’s Kampub Ambil office backed by the group on Saturday at about 4pm.
Earlier in the day, the pair, from Baray district’s Krava commune, had fled an FA patrol which caught them hauling about five logs from the protected Prey Anten forest in Santuk district, Mary said.
The officers confiscated the timber as well as three vehicles, a chainsaw, a crossbow and an axe, Mary said.
But at about 4pm, the two defendants and a third man, Luon Lerng, allegedly rushed the FA building together with about 30 others, leading to a long standoff with some 100 police, military police and soldiers.
While inside, the men chopped up tables and chairs, damaged vehicles and seized evidence, Mary said. “It took until 12am, but we managed to arrest the two suspects, whereas Luon Lerng is on the run.”
The 30 other suspects are still being sought. The defendants are charged with impersonating National Police officers and stealing evidence.