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Gov’t officials, Chinese charged with forestry crimes

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98 cubic metres of timber were found in a warehouse in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district on Sunday. Supplied

Gov’t officials, Chinese charged with forestry crimes

The Mondulkiri Provincial Court on Monday ordered the detention of three government officials and three Chinese nationals on different charges after they were arrested on Friday and Saturday in connection with forestry offences.

Court spokesman Meas Bros told The Post that after receiving the suspects on Sunday from the National Committee for the Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resource Crimes, he sent them to the prosecutor.

He said that on Monday the court decided to detain the six suspects on different charges.

Bros said two of the detained men were Forestry Administration officials, who were charged with “providing permission against the regulations and Law on Forestry, and tolerating forestry crimes” according to Article 111 of the Law on Forestry.

He said the other official, from the Environment Department, was charged with “conspiring to collect forest products without permission” under Article 64 of the Law on Protected Natural Areas, Article 98 of the Law on Forestry and Article 29 of the Criminal Code.

“Two Chinese nationals were charged with ‘extortion with aggravating circumstances by using a weapon’ according to Articles 363 and 366 of the Criminal Code, while the third Chinese national was charged with being ‘an accomplice in extortion with aggravating circumstances by using weapon” under Articles 29, 363 and 366,” Bros said.

He identified the three officials as Ratanakkiri province’s Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary director Han Sokorn, 48; Hun Vanne, 53, head of the Forestry Administration in Ratanakkiri province’s Lumphat district; and deputy Mondulkiri provincial Forestry Administration head Sarou Ratana, 46.

Eng Hy, the spokesman for the National Military Police and the National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resource Crimes, told The Post that on Sunday, the committee’s working group went to check a warehouse in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district and found 98 cubic metres of timber.

“This is the only information I’ve received because the authorities are investigating further and anything more besides this is not clear,” he said.

Meanwhile, the court also summoned deputy Kratie provincial Military Police commander Sak Sarun – a former Keo Seima district Military Police commander.

Sarun was ordered to appear on August 20 at 9am to answer questions regarding the “collection and transportation of forestry products without permission from the Forestry Administration” in Chork Char village in Keo Seima district’s Sre Preah commune on July 30, 2015.

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