A 25-year-old police officer in Mondulkiri’s Sen Monorom commune was killed in a car crash while transporting timber to sell in a nearby district on Sunday, police and authorities confirmed yesterday.
Un Sokim was driving a Toyota Camry sedan loaded with timber to Keo Seima district when he reached a curved road and his car crashed into a truck coming from the opposite direction, Sen Monorom commune chief Kvan Trel said.
The truck driver was sent to hospital after suffering several injuries, but Sokim instantly died from the crash’s impact.
“They could not see each other at the curve road … so they crashed into each other horribly,” Trel said.
Trel added that Sokim, who is Sen Monorom commune police chief Nhek Chanthol’s son-in-law, was found to be carrying an unquantified amount of timber, and had been known to transport and sell the illicit goods in the past.
“His car was loaded with timber for selling in Keo Seima district, but we do not know how much timber there was,” Trel explained.
A police official contacted yesterday declined to comment. Chanthol was unavailable for comment.
Sok Rotha, Mondulkiri provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said he thought the timber might be thnong, a protected species.
“The crash forced the timber out of the car,” he said.
He added that public officials generally ignore forestry-related crimes and allow them to continue all over the province.
Some of them, he said, are even involved in the crimes themselves.
In a separate case in the province, 11 people, including two Vietnamese nationals, were charged on Tuesday with illegal logging and clearing a protected forest in the Keo Seima area.
Eighteen Cambodians were arrested last week in connection to the crimes, Rotha said.
The detainees were sent to court for questioning. Later, nine of them where released while nine others were charged.
Provincial deputy prosecutor Sou Sovichea said that the loggers attempted to clear the protected forest to build a house.