Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Military officer linked to wildlife smuggling

Military officer linked to wildlife smuggling

Military officer linked to wildlife smuggling

RATANAKKIRI provincial authorities have identified a military officer as the owner of an abandoned car that was found near the Vietnamese border last week carrying more than 300 kilograms of protected wildlife.

Nov Dara, deputy chief of the provincial Bureau for Combating Economic Crime, yesterday identified the car’s owner as as Prum Saream, a military border officer based in Ratanakkiri.

“We sent a report and the car to the provincial Forestry Department in order for them to investigate this case,” he said. “I have handed over details of this person’s identity, such as his name and position, to forestry officials already.”

Pen Bonnar, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said that so far, the military official was denying involvement.

“Prum Saream said it is his car, but that his friend borrowed it from him and he did not know it was being loaded with wildlife,” he said. Pen Bonnar said the officer would not face punishment if he was able to provide evidence to support his alibi.

On Monday last week, provincial authorities discovered the car abandoned near the Vietnamese border and confiscated 354 kilograms of protected wildlife, including snakes, turtles, civets and newts.

Pen Bonnar said wildlife trafficking was not uncommon in Ratanakkiri.

“We see that authorities do not seem to have a strong enough ability to confiscate wildlife until they are criticised by people,” he said.

Meanwhile, authorities in Kandal province on Friday confiscated 116 kilograms of wildlife, including turtles, snakes and newts, in a raid in Koh Thom district’s Sampov Puon commune.

Provincial police chief Iv Chamroeun said a suspect had been sent to court for further questioning.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Former opposition leader tells soldiers, Cambodians to unite to fight CPP

    Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) President Sam Rainsy has called for a popular uprising after the July 29 national elections to force a change of government. He called on the armed forces and people to stand united to fight the ruling Cambodian People’s Party-led

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Police warn boycott FB group involved in the “Clean Fingers Campaign”

    Police said on Tuesday that they will pick up members of a Facebook group involved in the “Clean Fingers Campaign” that promotes a boycott of next month’s national elections. However, police merely planned to “educate” the group for now, but warned that if the