Stung Treng provincial environmental officials on Sunday confiscated two excavators that were inside the Anlong Phe Wildlife Sanctuary and will send the case to court, according to an official.
Eng Phirong, director of the provincial Environmental Department, said he received a report from villagers in Anlong Phe commune regarding two excavators being used to clear forestland inside the sanctuary for private ownership.
Authorities then inspected the area for two days on Saturday and Sunday before discovering the excavators, he said.
“Both vehicles were . . . [confiscated] and impounded at the provincial environment department,” he said, adding that the case will be sent to court.
Seng Kemsien, 37, owner of one excavator, denied that the land in question was inside the sanctuary. He claimed that it was part of a cashew plantation and that he had been hired by villagers.
He also identified the owner of the second excavator as Chrieng Sophanit.
Sophanit confirmed that his excavator had been seized before declining to comment further.