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Mondulkiri cops arrest loggers from VN

Five Vietnamese nationals were arrested on Monday for allegedly logging and poaching in a protected area of Mondulkiri province, officials said yesterday.

Provincial Forestry Administration director Keb Kort said that the men were part of a group of 10 Vietnamese nationals who had crossed the border in search of timber and wildlife in the province’s Keo Seima protected forest.

“The five Vietnamese guys were sent to our provincial office and we have just charged them . . . with both collecting timber and [hunting] wildlife,” he said yesterday. “They committed an offence, so they must be punished.”

Kort said that his officers worked in cooperation with the military police to arrest the men in the forest, where they had set up temporary camp sites. The other half of the group escaped.

Evidence including chainsaws, timber, bullets and motorbikes was seized from the scene. A monitor lizard was also found but immediately released, Kort said.

“The timber was left there too since it was hard to bring it out,” he added.

Meak Vuthy, director of the protected forest, said he was unable to comment yesterday.

Sin Vannvuth, Keo Seima district governor, said the incident was not unusual.

“Our forest is at the border, so this crime often happens. It is like Cambodian people crossing into Thailand,” he explained. “We have arrested more than 10 people already [since April] and we also sent them to the court.”

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