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Forestry chief sues soldiers

Forestry chief sues soldiers

Three military officers who face charges over a shooting in Siem Reap last October will be sued today by the forestry officials who allege the officers attempted to kill them, the lawyer representing the forestry officials concerned said yesterday.

Kouy Thunna told The Post that he would file two lawsuits at the province’s court today seeking compensation of US$28,500 for attempted murder and violating the legal powers given to forestry officials to do their job.

The three officers are captains Rom Sa Eam and Roeung Sarin and third lieutenant Chhum Chenda, he said. They are based in Banteay Meanchey province with the 5th Military Intervention Sub-Division. They were charged with three crimes by the provincial court in January over a shooting incident involving Sre Noy Commune Forestry Administration chief Thong Sokhay and two of his staff on October 30 last year, according to court documents.

The three were charged with using a weapon without permission, causing damage with intent and threatening forestry officials, the documents state.

The provincial court issued arrest warrants for the three officers on March 3, but they have yet to be arrested or appear for questioning, Kouy Thunna said.

Thong Sokhay said the officers shot at him and two of his staff, Thorn Thy and Sun Sok, after they had seized three cubic metres of luxury wood in Varin district’s Sre Noy commune. The wood was being illegally transported and was intercepted at a checkpoint in Sre Por village.

Thong Sokhay said he was taking the wood back to his office in a vehicle he had confiscated when the three officers overtook him in another car and blocked him from going forward.

“Captain Rom Sa Eam pointed a gun at me and shot three bullets,” Thong Sokhay said. “I was very lucky. The bullets hit the car’s mirrors,” he added.

The officers “wanted to kill me because I confiscated their car and luxury wood”, he said. The officers and their lawyers could not be reached for comment yesterday. General Samrith Samreth, chief of their sub-division, could not be reached for comment.

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