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Suspects in dredging swim away

Suspected illegal sand dredgers swam their way to freedom on Wednesday afternoon when government officials shut down their operation in Kandal province’s Lvea Em district.

After receiving complaints from villagers in the area, a team from the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology’s sand management committee discovered four pumps dredging sand along the Mekong River, said Chan Yutha, a Water Resource Ministry spokesman.

The Water Resource Ministry had not licensed anyone to dredge sand since last year’s national election, Yutha said.

“On Wednesday afternoon, our inspection group ran an operation to stop the unlawful pumping of sand from the Kdey Takoy pagoda.”

When officials approached, men in a boat and a ferry near the machinery jumped off and swam away, Yutha said. All evaded arrest. While unaware of who was behind the pumping, officials impounded the boats and dredging equipment, and are waiting for someone to claim them.

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