Pursat environmental officials sent five suspects to the provincial court yesterday afternoon for allegedly attempting to farm on flooded forestland illegally, a provincial environmental officer said.
Rin Randa, director of Pursat province’s Tonle Sap protected area, said that Vann Voeun, 37; Duch Bun Neng, 46; Loem Pros, 23; Khin Sam Ang, 28; and Sin Sar, 35, were arrested on Monday while ploughing the flooded forest near the river for dry-season rice farming.
He added that authorities had also confiscated six tillers.
“We accused them of encroaching on the flooded forest in protected areas under Article 62 of the Environmental Law,” he said.
Kampong Thkorl, village chief Theam Bunthey, who had provided the tip-off and joined in the operation, said the suspects were outsiders who “should be punished, because they intended to damage our people and authority’s reputation”.