Law enforcement agencies are searching for a group of suspected poachers who escaped into the Trapeang Kreunh community forest.

Officers seized several firearms from the suspects’ abandoned vehicle, and are continuing to comb the forest for the suspects.

Soeun Lay, a resident of the community, in Kampong Speu province’s Thpong district’s Prambei Mom commune, told The Post that he had been patrolling the forest with a team from his community on the night of April 23.

“Around midnight, we found a vehicle that we suspected was being used by poachers. We notified the Forestry Administration, the district police and the community forces, and they assembled a task force to respond,” he said.

“The suspect must have become aware that they had been seen, because they abandoned their car and fled into the forest on foot,” he added.

Chan Kakkada, a military police officer who took part in the operation, said that several firearms – including an M-16 assault rifle with a spare magazine – and several identity cards were found in the vehicle.

“After the vehicle was searched, all evidence was handed over to the provincial forestry administration,” he said.

Joint forces have been deployed throughout the forest, and are confident of catching the group.

Thpong Forestry Administration chief Sa Moeun told The Post that although the suspects had not yet been arrested, it was unlikely that they would escape.

“We now know some of their identities and are sharing them with law enforcement agencies throughout the region. They will be caught,” he said.