Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Navy loggers opened fire: NGO

Navy loggers opened fire: NGO

Navy loggers opened fire: NGO

NGO Wildlife Alliance has publicly accused members of the Royal Cambodian Navy of opening fire on patrolling rangers on the Tatai river in Koh Kong’s Smach Meanchey district after they tried to seize an allegedly illegal shipment of rosewood.

At about 11pm on October 10, a patrol team approached the naval boat, which was caught in mud during low tide, when the alleged traffickers leapt out and sought refuge in a nearby rainforest, a statement published on Wildlife Alliance’s website claims.

“As soon as our rangers arrived on the crime scene the navy traffickers opened fire and started to shoot on the rangers, who quickly backed off in their speed boat,” the statement reads.

A six-hour standoff between the rangers and naval officials followed until rangers managed to gain access to the boat once high tide commenced, confiscating 12 tonnes of rosewood along with the vessel.

An official with the NGO unauthorised to speak with the press confirmed the organisation had submitted a lawsuit to the provincial court and governor along with the Ministry of National Defence.

“The navy forces were shipping the illegal rosewood to Vietnam or Thailand, but our patrol team intercepted and those navy soldiers shot at us. It was completely dark; fortunately no one was hurt,” the official said.

Wildlife Alliance’s founder and CEO Suwanna Gauntlett said this was the first time the organisation had encountered an incident involving the Royal Navy opening fire on one of its patrol teams.

“Trust me, we’re going all the way up the chain of command regarding this incident,” Gauntlett said yesterday.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, was unsurprised to hear illegal rosewood logging was occurring in Koh Kong or that naval officers were implicated.

“I doubt any resolution will be reached in this case. I’m sure people up the chain of command are already involved,” Virak said.

Chhum Socheat, spokesman from the Ministry of Defense, and officials from Koh Kong’s provincial navy base could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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

  • 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

  • Ranariddh 'seriously injured', his wife dies in accident in Preah Sihanouk

    THE wife of former first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died. Ouk Phalla succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic accident on National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district this morning. She and the prince were immediately rushed to the Preah Sihanouk