A 27-year-old logger is in pre-trial detention on charges of illegal logging and possession of a homemade rifle, which he allegedly pointed at an American conservation activist in Preah Vihear province, authorities said yesterday.
The suspect, Chhorng Chan, was charged on Saturday for using a chainsaw to log without permission and making an illegal firearm, according to provincial prosecutor Ly Lon. Authorities are currently seeking two accomplices also charged with logging illegally.
As for the alleged attempted use of the rifle, no charges have been brought against Chan, but authorities “will investigate more”, Lon said.
According to Nem Siek, Sdao commune police chief, the trio was logging luxury thnong timber inside a protected biodiversity area supervised since last month by ADRA, an NGO managed by an American, Ben Davis.
When Davis and several community members saw the loggers carrying away timber on a mini-tractor, they intervened.
“The foreigner stopped them and Mr Chan attempted to hack him with an axe,” Siek continued, adding that “Chan took out a rifle and pointed it at [Davis] and he went away.”
Chan was arrested after Davis filed a complaint with Siek’s office. As for alleged accomplices Veng Den and Phin Phoeurng, they left the village and crossed the border to log rosewood in Thailand, according to Siek.
Davis could not be reached for comment yesterday.