Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Illegal mining op halted in preserve

Illegal mining op halted in preserve

Illegal mining op halted in preserve

Pailin provincial authorities are searching for a suspect who allegedly commissioned the excavation of a gold mine on land the protection of which is funded by the foundation of American actress Angelina Jolie.

Provincial environmental police are holding three men at a spot where they were found guarding an excavator and 10,000 square metres of land in Boyakha commune on Sunday, said Kim Sokha, director of Pailin’s environment office.

All three said they were hired to guard the machine and area, but insisted they did not know the identity of their employer.

“Workers were illegally surrounding land near a gold mine to dig with the excavator [on protected land] near the Cambodian-Thai border,” Sokha said.

“We are searching for the person behind this illegal activity, and if we cannot find whoever is responsible for it, the excavator will be impounded at a border military police station.”

Since the questioning on Sunday, environmental police have detained the three guards at the site, Sokha said, though they have not been charged.

This is the second time Sokha’s department has cracked down on people digging or attempting to dig on the land owned by the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, run by Jolie and her husband, Brad Pitt. They started the organisation in 2003 after adopting a child from Cambodia.

At the foundation’s creation, the actress pledged an initial $1.3 million to fund protection efforts in Pailin and Battambang provinces, said Chan Socheat, its operational officer. Only two companies have been granted licences to explore the area, one of which is Vietnamese, he said.

A 1993 royal decree designated 60,000 hectares of forest land in Battambang and Pailin as a protected area, Socheat said. Since then, 20,000 hectares has been used by people who farm and live on it.

MOST VIEWED

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Mother, daughter killed in hotel fire

    The bodies of a mother and daughter were found locked in an embrace after they were killed in a hotel fire in Phnom Penh at around 3:30am on Wednesday at the Phkar Chhouk Tep 2 Hotel and Restaurant in Phsar Doeum Kor commune, in the capital’

  • EBA withdrawal a destruction of EU achievements, PM says

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the EU’s possible suspension of its Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement amounted to a destruction of its achievements in the Kingdom and the demise of the opposition group. Hun Sen made the remarks while addressing more than 6,700 students during

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • Kingdom calls on Japan to increase number of direct flights to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh

    Cambodia is requesting Japan to increase the number of direct flights from Japanese cities and provinces to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, so as to contribute to increasing cooperation and tourist numbers between the two countries. During the opening ceremony of 3rd Japan Travel Fair

  • Sri Lanka’s LOLC Holdings plans to sell Cambodian unit

    LOLC Holdings Plc, Sri Lanka’s second-largest publicly traded company by revenue, plans to sell its 70 per cent stake in Prasac Microfinance Institution Ltd, which also counts Hong Kong’s Bank of East Asia Ltd. as a shareholder, LOLC deputy chairman Ishara Nanayakkara said. Nanayakkara