Mondulkiri provincial authorities are hunting poachers who shot at environmental rangers with an AK-47 assault rifle at the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary, injuring one.
Provincial environment department director Keo Sopheak said the incident happened at around 3:30am on Tuesday when six rangers equipped with two AK-47s encountered a group of six poachers while patrolling the forest on three motorbikes.
He said the armed hunters, who were carrying three AK-47s, opened fire when told to stop their activities.
“After exchanging fire for about 15 minutes, one ranger was hit and injured on the left thigh. The rangers then decided to back off and rush the victim to the hospital,” he said.
Sopheak identified the injured ranger as 37-year-old Cheng Chanthy, who was later transferred to Phnom Penh’s Calmette hospital.
His officers, Sopheak said, returned to the site to gather evidence at around 5am the same day and encountered another group of hunters. Both exchanged fire but no one was injured. One motorbike was damaged by multiple gunshots.
He said the poachers fled into the forest in Koh Nhek district’s Sre Huy commune after the confrontation. “We have yet to identify any of the suspects,” he said.