Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Oknha Sam Ol and three others charged and jailed



Oknha Sam Ol and three others charged and jailed

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Tycoon Soeng Sam Ol was arrested over Mondulkiri illegal logging last week. Supplied

Oknha Sam Ol and three others charged and jailed

Tycoon Soeng Sam Ol and three alleged accomplices have been placed in pre-trial detention after being charged with illegal logging, while more than 40 vehicles reportedly used to carry out the offences were handed over to Mondulkiri provincial authorities on Sunday.

Committee spokesman Eng Hy said on Sunday that the National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resource Crimes has transferred the vehicles allegedly used to transport illegally logged timber to the Mondulkiri provincial authorities, with the local court to decide whether they will be destroyed.

“We have handed over the more than 40 vehicles to the local authorities. It is up to the Mondulkiri provincial court to rule on whether they should be destroyed, but the National Military Police has not received the order to do so. The investigation and search for more suspects continue,” said Hy, who is also National Military Police spokesman.

Mondulkiri provincial administration spokesman Sok Sera confirmed that the vehicles had been transferred to the Mondulkiri provincial authorities.

The vehicles were being guarded while a report was made on the evidence, including the size of the haul and the amount of luxury timber seized.

“We have not yet decided whether to destroy the vehicles or not. They are being kept at a safe place before a decision is made, pending advice from top leadership."

“In my opinion, we don’t need to destroy the vehicles. Vehicles in good condition could be handed over to the military or the Military Police, with others given to the provincial department of en-vironment for use,” Sera said.

Mondulkiri provincial court spokesman Meas Pros said on Sunday that Sam Ol, who holds the honorific of oknha, and three others were charged on Friday evening and placed in pre-trial detention.

“The court charged them with three offences: collecting forest resources without permission, transporting forest resources without permission, under articles 96 and 98 of the Forestry Law, and using vehicles without proper number plates,” Pros said.

After the Mondulkiri provincial court charged the four men, five officials whose work is related to forestry were questioned by the National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resources Crimes on Saturday before being released at 5pm.

Other officials will be summoned subsequently to answer questions on how the forestry crimes had occurred under their authority, a National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resources Crimes report stated.

The five officials questioned on Saturday included Sok Kheang, the director of the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Keo Sopheak, the director of the provincial Department of Environment; and Um Vann Sopheak, the director of the province’s Forestry Administration.

Pen Pheaktra, the chief of the Srepok wildlife sanctuary, and Han Sokhon, the chief of Phnom Prich wildlife sanctuary, were also quizzed.

In a separate case, Long Yoeng, the deputy commander of the Kratie provincial Military Police, said that officials on Saturday had destroyed seven trucks and cranes that timber dealers had hidden in a farm in O’Krieng commune’s O’Preah village.

Meanwhile, Stung Treng provincial Military Police destroyed six trucks after a crackdown on illegal logging last Tuesday in Sesan district’s Kbal Romeas commune.

Ieng Vandy, the commander of the provincial Military Police, said that after receiving an order from General Sao Sokha, National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resources Crimes chief and commander of the National Military Police, he had ordered the six vehicles destroyed on the spot.

Elsewhere, a joint force on Friday arrested three Cambodians and two Vietnamese for illegally entering the forest in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district to cut down trees.

A police officer who asked not to be named said the five were sent to the provincial court on Saturday.

Morm Vanda, Mondulkiri provincial court deputy prosecutor, confirmed five people had been questioned by the court.

“They were sent to the court and questioned, but I do not know yet what they will be charged with,” Vanda said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there