Border police yesterday returned three motorbikes to their Vietnamese owners after they were confiscated last week by Paknhai commune police in Ratanakkiri province near the Cambodia-Vietnam border.
But according to Chhay Thy of the rights group Adhoc, the move “shows that they may be in the same group and colluding … to log and sell timber.”
Last week, Paknhai officers spotted three suspected timber traders who left their motos and fled when they saw authorities, Pak Nhai deputy police chief Lar Thuom said.
The bikes were impounded, but after negotiations with a Cambodian official from the O’Thmorda border post, they were returned to their owners.
Acting O’Yadav district police chief Ngoy Don said the bikes were returned due to a lack of evidence, but according to Thy, returning the motorbikes violated forestry laws.
He added that the same border official negotiated the case when Vietnamese-owned chainsaws were seized a few months ago.