Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Complaints to come in M’kiri logging case

Complaints to come in M’kiri logging case

Complaints to come in M’kiri logging case

THE Mondulkiri provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc said he plans to file two complaints in Phnom Penh today on behalf of Banong ethnic minority villagers who say that military border police threatened to shoot them after they detained nine Vietnamese men caught logging illegally in Pich Chreada district.

Chhay Thy said local authorities’ handling of the case had been inadequate. “This has made the people lose confidence in the authorities because they have shown that they do not respect the law,” he said.

She said the complaints would be filed by five villagers representing 200 families. One is set to go to the Justice Ministry, while the other will go to the Court of Appeal, despite the fact that the case has not yet been heard in provincial court, he said.

On Wednesday, two groups of villagers happened upon two separate bands of Vietnamese illegal loggers, according to villagers’ accounts. The first group detained five loggers, and the second group, which was accompanied by provincial court prosecutor Im Sophan, detained four, the villagers said. All of the loggers were then held in the same building in Pich Chreada district.

When military border police officers came to see the prisoners, they said the villagers had no right to make arrests and threatened to shoot them, the villagers said.

Several of the villagers attributed the threat to a military police officer they could identify only as Mr Prem. “I know only that his name is Mr Prem, and he works for Border Post No 8,” said Khan Channy, an ethnic Banong villager who participated in the arrests.

The Vietnamese men were released late Wednesday, in a move that outraged the Mondulkiri villagers.

“After we reported to the provincial authorities and asked for help, the prosecutor Im Sophan arrived in the evening at the commune with military police as well as local authorities,” said Plang Sin, a village representative. “Then the Vietnamese men were released.”

Im Sophan acknowledged having seen the detained men in the evening but denied having participated in the initial arrest. When he arrived, he said, the loggers had already been released.

“I did not see anybody except our villagers,” he said. “The villagers said the military had threatened them, so I told them to file a complaint and the court will investigate.”

The provincial Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander said Sunday that he was in Battambang province and did not know enough about the case to comment on it.

MOST VIEWED

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget