The Mondulkiri Provincial Court has placed a man in pre-trial detention for allegedly clearing forest land while two other suspects were released.
Provincial court spokesman Meas Bros said on May 9 that the three suspects were sent to court by environmental officials on May 6.
“The detained person is the owner of the machinery. He cleared state land for ownership, while the two others are just hired workers. So, they were released,” he said.
Provincial Department of Environment director Keo Sopheak told The Post that environment officials apprehended the suspects while they were clearing land on May 4 in the forest Biodiversity Conservation Corridors in Pou Krouch village in Pech Chreada district’s Sre Ampoum commune.
He added that officials seized evidence including three pieces of machinery, two motorcycles and one generator, all of which are being retained at the provincial environment department.
“We sent the case to court, and we are still searching for other relevant people,” he said.
Forest activist Kroeung Tola lauded the officials for enforcing the law and detaining the offenders.
“When illegal land encroachers are arrested and brought to justice like this, I congratulate and support the arrests. I rarely see such casese,” he said.
Article 62 of the Law on Natural Protected Areas stipulates that with such offences, evidence is confiscated as state property and offenders face a prison term of five to 10 years and a fine of between 10 and 150 million riel ($2,500 and $37,000).