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Journos ‘attacked’ in Ratanakkiri

Journalists in Ratanakkiri province reported having their car’s side-view mirrors smashed yesterday morning in retaliation for attempting to photograph illegal logging activities.

Seng Virak, a reporter for the irregularly published Phnom Penh Press newspaper in the province, said he and six others from different outlets were travelling in three cars when they encountered a timber-laden truck, which they chased, hoping to photograph it.

“[That’s] when a group of 10 gangsters armed with wooden sticks, cleavers and bricks appeared and threw things at my car, breaking its wing mirrors,” Virak said, adding that all journalists escaped unscathed.

The reporters filed a complaint with police, but Meas Pov Bora, chief of the provincial minor crimes office, said that he hadn’t taken action on the complaint as he was overloaded with cases.

Local journalists in the past have been accused of attempting to extort money from timber traders in exchange for not reporting on their activities.

Meanwhile in Prey Veng’s Preah Sdech district, military police reported confiscating some 15 cubic metres of timber from a military truck yesterday morning, although the driver escaped on foot.

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