Five Vietnamese nationals who were renting a home from the local immigration department chief were arrested on Friday for conducting illegal mining operations in Ratanakkiri province’s O’Yadav district.
The five men – Le Vankeoung, La Deok Taing, Nguyen Ton Deok, Jin Mingorng and Vi Thanh Dai – were arrested in a raid by police and military police in which a large generator, mining equipment and a Toyota Land Cruiser were seized. They are being held for further questioning.
“The suspects are accused of exploration and mining activities without a licence,” said Morm Vanda, a provincial prosecutor. “If they are involved with the house owner or not, the court will investigate [to determine].”
The house owner in question is Long Rokha, director of the immigration department at the O’Yadav border checkpoint. Yesterday, Rokha said he rented the house to the five men only because they claimed to be part of a Vietnamese mining company with a legitimate licence.
Ministry of Mines spokesman Meng Saktheara said only one company – Indian-owned Mesco Gold – had a mining licence in the district.
Additional reporting by Ananth Baliga