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Illegal loggers: Arrestees escape from detention

TWO men detained on suspicion of illegal logging have broken out of their cell and escaped from the provincial Forestry Department in Siem Reap town, officials said yesterday.

Nhem Sila, deputy military police chief of Siem Reap province, said the two escapees, who were arrested on Tuesday evening, managed to sneak out of detention at around midday on Wednesday.

“They broke out of the cell of the detention room and escaped while our authorities were taking a rest during lunchtime on January 5,” he said. “We are now working hard to find them in order to bring them back to [face] justice.”

He said the two men, both 25, from Kampong Cham province, were arrested while transporting illegal luxury hardwoods through Siem Reap and were being held for questioning and further investigation in their activities.

Nhem Sila suggested that the breakout may have been due to insufficient security measures and said he did not suspect officials on duty at time were complicit. “I think that it is carelessness or related to the mistakes of our provincial Forestry Department officials’,” he said.

Officials at the Siem Reap Forestry Department could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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