Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Illegal gem mine camp on Jolie-supported land broken up

Illegal gem mine camp on Jolie-supported land broken up

Environmental officers discovered and destroyed a month-old camp deep in a protected Samlot protected area of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation on Wednesday. Photo supplied
Environmental officers discovered and destroyed a month-old camp deep in a protected Samlot protected area supported by the Jolie-Pitt Foundation on Wednesday. Photo supplied

Illegal gem mine camp on Jolie-supported land broken up

Officials are looking for a group of illegal gem miners after discovering and destroying a month-old camp deep in a protected area supported by the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation (MJP) on Wednesday.

Five patrollers, including an MJP ranger, found the illegal mining hideout in Pailin’s Samlot protected area, according to the ranger Chan Socheat.

The area is over 600,000 hectares and is protected by royal decree. It is a joint preservation project of the Ministry of Environment and actress Angelina Jolie’s foundation.

“We did not see the miners; they had escaped before our arrival. We saw only tent camps and seized 170 animal traps in the forest,” Socheat said.

Socheat said the team found axes, machetes, dishes, clothes and the remains of wild animals eaten at the camp.

The patrollers dismantled the makeshift living quarters and burned the materials.

“According to what we saw, there were about six or seven miners there for about a month,” Socheat said.

He explained that this region of Samlot has many precious gems and has been a site of illegal mining since the Khmer Rouge era.

Kim Sokha, Pailin provincial environment department director, said the miners were locals working for larger-scale gem traders, and may have been tipped off that authorities were approaching.

“When we went there, they knew we were coming, so they fled. They were told on the phone and they managed to escape,” he said.

Sokha said officials are searching for the miners and the traders supporting them.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa