A father and his two sons were badly burned while driving a tractor across a sugarcane plantation that was undergoing pre-harvest burning in Kampong Speu’s Oral district on Wednesday, local authorities said.
District deputy police chief Orn Yuthhong said that Un Horm, 48, and his two sons – Un Rotha, 23, and Un Ponleu, 14 – sustained injuries all over their bodies and are currently receiving treatment at Kampong Speu’s Provincial Referral Hospital.
“The reason leading to the incident is that they tried to haul timber illegally from Oral Wildlife Sanctuary,” he said, explaining that the trio were hurrying from the sanctuary for fear of being spotted by authorities.
Yuthhong added that during the interrogation, Un Horm admitted he and his sons were logging “small trees” in the sanctuary to make a bed to sell.
“I saw the black smoke … but I did not think it would spread and reach us immediately … However, when we were halfway into the plantation, the fire reached us,” Horm told police.
Yuthhong said that given the severity of their injuries, authorities decided to warn the men but allow them to keep the wood.