Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monk forest chief files report against soldiers

Monk forest chief files report against soldiers

The Venerable Bun Saluth, head of the Sorng Rukhavorn community forest in Oddar Meanchey. Facebook
The Venerable Bun Saluth, head of the Sorng Rukhavorn community forest in Oddar Meanchey. Facebook

Monk forest chief files report against soldiers

A community forest chief in Oddar Meanchey province is pursuing legal action against a pair of soldiers over an incident last month in which they allegedly beat and threatened forest patrollers who caught them transporting luxury timber.

The Venerable Bun Saluth, head of the Sorng Rukhavorn community forest, filed a complaint to the Forestry Administration on Friday accusing soldiers Moeng Duong and Sam Pisey of forestry crimes and threatening to set a patroller’s family on fire after patrollers stopped a mini-tractor loaded with timber.

“If they have a position they need to be demoted, because the people who committed the crime should not have a title,” Saluth said in an interview yesterday.

“They are not soldiers defending the country or protecting the people. They are thieves.”Reached yesterday, Regiment 424 Commander Sin Pean denied that his soldiers had “attacked” the patrollers.

“It actually was just pushing and not using any weapons,” Pean said.

Pean acknowledged that Duong was at fault for taking the tractor and timber back from the patrollers and fleeing. However, he denied that Duong had been logging timber himself and said he merely purchased the wood from a villager to make furniture.

Pean added that he had already educated and punished Duong “based on the regiment’s rules”, but would not elaborate further.

“We are not careless about this,” Pean said. It is illegal to transport luxury timber without a permit, regardless of its purpose, according to Cambodia’s forestry law.

The law also states that military officials who threaten Forestry Administration officers or commit forestry crimes are subject to one to five years in prison and a fine of 10 million to 100 million riel, or $2,500 to $25,000.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen invites US president to attend summit in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen personally invited US President Joe Biden to attend the ASEAN-US Summit which is set to be held in Cambodia in November, as ASEAN and the US are expected to upgrade their strategic partnership to a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’, according to Prime

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden