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Official gets called out in sanctuary logging case

Official gets called out in sanctuary logging case

Two men have been arrested over, and a military official implicated in, illegal logging that took place at the protected Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary last week.

Nak Hoeum, 35, and Mom Dy, 44, were arrested on Friday during a two-day crackdown on illegal clearing in the wildlife sanctuary, Veal Veng district military police commander Puth Bunchhoeun said.

“Both suspects were arrested while they were logging and clearing the forest in the protected area,” he confirmed.

But the pair, from Battambang province, told environment officials they were unaware the forest was protected and they were hired by Pech Thaipeng, a military official stationed at Stung Kach near the sanctuary, to clear the land.

The suspects said Thaipeng told them the land was his private farmland. Thaipeng yesterday acknowledged in an interview that he hired the men to clear the forest for 100,000 riel, but said the 30-square-metre plot belonged to his deputy commander.

Em Phuong Vibol, deputy director of the sanctuary, said that a complaint naming the suspects and the military official was being filed at the Pursat Provincial Court.

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