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Police officer called to face logging allegations

A commune police officer has been summonsed to appear at Ratanakkiri’s provincial court on Friday after 10 villagers filed lawsuits against him in September for his alleged involvement in illegal logging in a community forest and for threatening them with a rifle, villagers and the rights group Adhoc said yesterday.

Five villagers from Lumphat district’s Lbaing II commune appeared for questioning yesterday about the lawsuit lodged against Khean Deth, filed on September 9, following the September 1 incident, said Chhay Thy, a provincial coordinator for Adhoc.

“Khean Deth was allegedly colluding with a brother and two cousins to log 50 luxury trees in the community forest,” he said.

Chrech Horn, 53, one of the five villagers called before the court yesterday, said villagers patrolling the forest had witnessed the activity of the four men, later confiscating the timber with the help of 40 other villagers from a nearby hut where it was stored.

Deth returned with two tractors and took the wood later that night, threatening villagers with a rifle, Horn added.

However, Deth denied all accusations lodged against him, claiming the villagers were responsible for multiple forest crimes and were suing him out of retaliation.

Deth is slated to appear before the court for questioning today.

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