Officials confirmed yesterday that two self-described journalists were placed in detention in Stung Treng’s provincial Forestry Administration headquarters for allegedly smuggling timber.
Military police officials pulled over two vans transporting 18 logs of first-grade timber in Siem Bok district on Wednesday night, according to provincial Forestry Administration director Meas Sophun. Officials searched the drivers and found two press cards identifying them as reporters for a little-known newspaper called “Khmer Empire”.
“We are taking legal action against them,” Sophun said, before refusing to comment further. Oeung Vandy, provincial military police commander, declined to comment on the issue, referring the question to the national military police spokesman Eng Hy, who said he was not aware of the case.
Multiple local media outlets, however, quoted Vandy as identifying the duo as Sorn Seng Hong, 19, and Tith Sothea, 28, and saying that the men also worked as drivers and had tested positive for methamphetamine.
Provincial court spokesman Chhum Seang Hak said he has yet to receive a report from the Forestry Administration on this case.
Ministry of Information spokesman Ouk Kimseng said yesterday that he was unaware of the case, but that the paper was registered under its Khmer name, "Anachak Khmer". However, he said, he had never seen the paper in print.