A Kratie Forestry Administration official filmed demanding bribes from smugglers of logged wood used for pepper farming has been arrested and charged with forestry offences and abuse of power, and faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty, officials said yesterday.
Khoun Chivin, an officer in Chhlong district, was filmed demanding $10 per vanload of the wood used as supporting stakes on pepper farms, but was initially only transferred to a job in the provincial Forestry Administration for “education” against demanding bribes.
However, Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) Chairman Om Yentieng said Chivin was arrested by the ACU on Wednesday evening and sent to the provincial court.
“The case in Kratie, the ACU arrested Khuon Chivin, Chhlong Forestry Administration officer, on the 16th of August at 5pm,” Yentieng said in a message yesterday. “At 2pm, the ACU had finished its procedure and sent the perpetrator to the prosecutor.”
Chea Sopheak, a spokesperson for the Kratie court’s prosecutors, said Chivin was then charged. “We charged him with abuse of power under Article 35 of the Anti-Corruption Law and Article 101 of the Forestry Law, and sent him to an investigating judge,” he said.
The first charge carries a sentence of five to 10 years in prison. The second, which covers Forestry Administration officials who improperly allow acts contrary to the Forestry Law, such as transporting wood without a permit, or who break the law themselves, carries one to five years.