Banteay Meanchey provincial Military Police sent 12 people to court on Tuesday for running a mountain excavation business without a valid licence.
Authorities said the legal action is part of a weeklong crackdown on unauthorised mountain excavation to protect natural resources in the province.
Provincial Military Police public communication office head Lak Phy told The Post on Tuesday that the authorities had inspected and found illegal operations at four sites – two in Preah Neth Preah district, one in Svay Chek district and one in Serey Sophoan town.
“We arrested 12 people including business owners. Some evidence such as four excavators and eight trucks [were also seized],” he said, adding that the business had since been halted by a prosecutor.
Villagers in Preah Neth Preah district’s Phnom Leab commune said the crackdown followed a fatal accident on November 6, when a worker died after he fell off his excavator while driving it at the site.
Preah Neth Preah district Military Police commander Sin Rasy said on Tuesday that the worker’s employer, Soeum Sambo, 33, was arrested later that day and sent to court after authorities found that he ran the business without a valid licence.
His brother-in-law Oeun Sophoeut said Sambo had since been put in pre-trial detention on charges of “illegal land excavation leading to the damage of natural resources at Leab Mountain and negligence causing the death of a worker”.