Officials from the Ratanakkiri provincial Department of Mines and Energy and Military Police launched a crackdown on unlicensed sand dredging in Kon Mom district’s Sre Angkrang commune which has seen several exhibits seized but no confirmed arrests.
Kon Mom district governor Sek Hay said on Wednesday that the joint forces in collaboration with specialists from the department began a probe after it became apparent that a business owner who was involved did not have a proper licence.
“He [the owner] acquired land to carry out farming on economic land concessions. However, he instead hired machines and tractors to pump and transport sand.
“I don’t know whether people were detained or not, because I told my forces to go and assist the specialists who were in charge of the matter,” he said.
He said he didn’t know the owner’s name or who was involved in the sand dredging, but confirmed that the machinery and materials used belonged to Vietnam firm Hong Anh, which was granted an economic land concession to carry out agriculture in the area.
He said the company had previously also been involved in an unlicensed sand-dredging business.
Ratanakkiri Military Police commander Thav Yen could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Citing GRK News, a report from the National Police said on Wednesday that on Tuesday, Military Police forces from Kon Mom district led by district police commander So Vanna in collaboration with provincial specialists cracked down on offences in the commune.
The report said that during the operation, the joint forces seized an excavator, three pumping machines, some hoses and other exhibits as evidence.
The forces are holding the exhibits temporarily at the Military Police station in the district, pending further action by the specialists.
Neither Ung Huor, the director of the Ratanakkiri provincial Department of Mines and Energy, nor a representative of Hong Anh could be reached for comment on Wednesday
Yos Monirath, the director-general of General Department of Mineral Resources, declined to comment on Wednesday, claiming he was too busy at a meeting.