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Illegal soil excavators caught in act, ordered to shut

Illegal soil excavators caught in act, ordered to shut

Police have shuttered two unauthorised soil excavation sites in Kralanh and Puok districts in Siem Reap province, while another illegal soil excavation site near the Bassac River in Kandal province’s Sithbo commune, in Takhmao town, was also stopped on Friday.

Siem Reap administrative director Sok Thol said on Sunday that on Friday, police forces from Kralanh and Puok districts collaborated in a joint task force with the provincial administration to close down the unauthorised sites which were located in Chanlas Dai commune in the two Siem Reap districts.

During the operation, Thol said joint police forces required the owners of the sites to sign a contract agreeing to halt their businesses. While he declined to reveal the identities of the owners, he said specialists had fined one of them according to the Law on Mineral Resource Management and Exploitation.

He said police had instructed the owner of another site to apply to a specialist body for permits. But the police didn’t fine him because he had not yet carried out the activities and withdrew the excavation machinery himself.

“We always conduct checks on the soil digging sites. Some have the authorisation, but they carry out activities beyond their areas.

“Some others have no authorisation or don’t ask for permits from local authorities. We have stopped many cases, but I don’t remember the figures. We don’t take all cases to court as some are just fined,” Thol said.

Provincial Department of Mines and Energy director Meas Chourany could not be reached for comment.

In a separate case, specialists from the Kandal provincial Department of Mines and Energy stopped an illegal excavation site near the Bassac River on March 27.

Neither Kandal provincial hall administration head Kruy Malen, Takhmao town governor Nou Sovanra nor Kandal provincial Department of Mines and Energy director Chea Sarith could be reached for comment on Sunday.

But Chea Sarith, the Department of Education Promotion, Logistics and Finance head at the Ministry of Interior said on Sunday that he received a complaint about soil excavation near the Bassac River from residents of Sithbo commune.

He then led a provincial working group and local authorities to the site to immediately stop the activities.

Sarith named the owner of the unauthorised excavation as Buth Sokry, a Takhmao town resident.

The Kandal provincial Department of Mines and Energy had previously stopped Sokry’s activities and made him sign a contract agreeing to stop future activities, but he continued.

The working group, Sarith said, required Sokry to sign a second contract, and if he still carried out the activities, the machinery will be seized and legal action will be taken against him. As a result, Sokry agreed to follow the instructions and properly stop his activities this time.

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