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Police nab nine, search for more in forest clearing case

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Police arrested nine suspects and seized eight tractors that were used to bulldoze over 6ha of forest in Kantuot commune, in Siem Reap province’s Svay Leu district. Facebook

Police nab nine, search for more in forest clearing case

The Siem Reap provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is searching for more suspects in the bulldozing of over 6ha of forest in Kantuot commune, Svay Leu district.

Police already arrested nine suspects on Saturday when they seized eight tractors and a motorbike. The suspects have been sent to court.

Forestry Administration director Mong Bunlim said the operation involved the cooperation of the North Tonle Sap Forestry Administration, Kantuot commune police and Military Region Four.

Trees were felled at the site and a marker placed on the land to declare ownership, he said.

“We retrieved [evidence] to keep at the Kantuot-Khna Krao Forestry Administration office. There are more suspects and we are searching for them,” said Bunlim.

Siem Reap Provincial Court spokesman Yin Srang told The Post on Tuesday it ordered the alleged offenders to be held, but he did not clarify the legal grounds.

Adhoc coordinator Chan Chamroeun said on Tuesday different types of land offences in Siem Reap and different people are involved. For example, he said powerful people conspired with corrupt officials to encroach on State land, but are not punished like average citizens.

“I want the rich and powerful people who encroach on State land punished like everyone else,” he said.

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