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Ex-soldier shirks court in illegal logging case

SIEM REAP PROVINCE
A FORMER soldier suspected of illegal logging failed to appear at Siem Reap provincial court for questioning on Monday, having told his lawyer he was too busy.

Peuy Pel, a former army lieutenant based in Banteay Srei district, was accused by the Forestry Administration in 2007 of clearing forest on protected state land.

Investigating judge Sok Leang said Peuy Pel’s defence lawyer asked to reschedule the hearing because his client was busy. He added that court officials had no information regarding the amount of land the soldier is accused of clearing because they had yet to meet with him.

“I know the complaint was filed a long time ago, but it has just reached my hand for further investigation of the case,” he said. “I don’t know the reason why it has taken so long.”

He said a new date had not been set for Peuy Pel to come in for questioning.

Tea Kimsoth, provincial Forestry Administration director, said his office filed a complaint after it found the ex-soldier was clearing state land without permission.

“We filed the complaint a long time ago because he cleared forests that the government did not allow,” he said.

Peuy Pel could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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