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Nine Vietnamese nationals, arrested for allegedly crossing the border into Mondulkiri to illegally log a protected forest, pose for a photo with police on Wednesday. WWF
Nine Vietnamese nationals, arrested for allegedly crossing the border into Mondulkiri to illegally log a protected forest, pose for a photo with police on Wednesday. WWF

Nine Vietnamese nationals busted with chainsaws in Mondulkiri

Foresty officials detained nine Vietnamese nationals on Wednesday, after they allegedly crossed the border to illegally log a protected forest in Mondulkiri.

The men were caught by police and Forestry Administration officials and were carrying two chainsaws in a protected forest in Pech Chreada district, just a few kilometres from the border, according to Moul Phath, a project manager for WWF Cambodia.

“The ranger team captured them in one place, and ordered them not to escape,” he said.

The chainsaws and five motorbikes were sent to a nearby border station, Phath said.

Forestry official Long Bung said the men were aged between 30 and 40 years old. The suspects were still being questioned by forestry officials at the provincial headquarters, he said, adding that they will be sent to court today.

In Heng, director of the immigration office at the Mondulkiri provincial police station, said that along with the forestry crime charges, the men would likely be charged with crossing the border illegally as well.

In a separate case yesterday, Tbong Khmum provincial police seized 200 logs of rosewood from a truck and detained the driver, who they say was on his way to Vietnam.

Provincial police chief Mao Pov said the rosewood was hidden under recyclables but was discovered by officials at Duong checkpoint on the Vietnamese border.

The load weighed more than 1,000 kilograms, he said.

“The driver was arrested and now we are taking legal action. He was attempting to transport it to Vietnam,” Pov said.

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