A Vietnamese firm has raised the suspicions of authorities by transporting excavators and bulldozers thought to be intended for use in land clearing into Cambodia under the cover of darkness while the border was closed.
Sok Min, military police commander in Ratanakkiri province’s O’yadav district, which borders Vietnam, said 12 items of heavy machinery had been seized on Wednesday after the border closed at 7pm.
“We impounded them at our office because they entered our country at night time when the border checkpoint is closed. The machinery was likely to have been used to clear the land,” Min said.
“It is suspicious that the machinery was being transported at night like that, but no one has been arrested.”
Ratanakkiri provincial military commander Kim Raksmei said that although the circumstances were suspicious, the paperwork checked out.
“We saw the legal documents of the machinery and we allowed it to go,’’ he said.
“It is abnormal that a lot of machinery is transported across the border at night like this,” Raksmei added, but declined to comment further.
The firm responsible was identified as Pacific by Chhay Thi, provincial co-ordinator of the rights group Adhoc, who said he would keep a watchful eye on the company to make sure it was not up to anything illegal such as land-grabbing.
“They transported [the machinery] at night,’’ Thi said. ‘‘Why didn’t they transport [it] during daytime?”
No contact details for Pacific could be found yesterday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Phak Seangly at [email protected]