A FORMER military official, who allegedly unleashed machine-gun fire against unarmed forestry officials during a raid on stockpiles of suspected contraband timber, was arrested after surrendering to police reinforcements.
Thai Kea, 44, was apprehend after a 20-minute siege with forestry officials in Kratie province’s Svay Chreah commune last Friday, Long Ying, Kratie province deputy military police commander, said yesterday.
“He opened fire with an AK gun at forestry officials when they were going to crackdown and confiscate wood”, he claimed, adding that Thai Kea had been charged with illegal possession of a firearm and illegal logging.
Police confiscated 10 cubic metres of timber, four cars and Thai Kea’s AK-47 after the standoff and arrested another man, identified only as an accomplice in illegal logging, Long Ying said.
“We are investigating more people involved in this case because the suspect [Thai Kea] is former military and he has no right to hold a gun anymore”, he added.
Men Bunthoeun, deputy police chief of Kratie province’s
Snoul district, said yesterday Thai Kea had long been a suspected illegal logger.
“He is believed to have trafficked wood for a long time but we [previously] had no evidence to crackdown and arrest him”, he said.
Thim Narin, coordinator of Adhoc in Kratie province, said a provincial crackdown by officials on illegal logging that began last year had started to yield results.