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No safe harbour: Dredgers confiscated on Mekong

Police in Kandal province are looking for the company or individuals responsible for dredging sand in an area of the lower Mekong River, where dredging has been outlawed since 2011.

Nineteen sand dredging boats were recently discovered between Koh Pich and Akreiy Ksatr commune in Kandal and impounded, Phnom Penh deputy police chief Ouch Sokhon said yesterday.

“In our operation, the police force has confiscated 19 boats . . . after local police reported this irregularity,” Sokhon said. “We will work to identify the company who is responsible.”

In a December letter, Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem reminded governors of Kandal, Prey Veng and Phnom Penh to stop dredging by boats, or any action that violate restrictions.

Kandal Governor Mao Phirun could not be reached for comment, while Prey Veng Governor Hash Sareth said no dredging had taken place in his province in the past month.

Phnom Penh City Hall spokesman Long Dimanche said checkups will stymie illegal sand dredging. “Municipal authorities have set up a monthly investigation, so this will not happen,” Dimanche said.

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