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Preah Vihear court takes legal action against three illegal loggers

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Prey Lang and Boeung Per Wildlife Sanctuaries, though kilometres apart, see constant forestry crimes. Heng Chivoan

Preah Vihear court takes legal action against three illegal loggers

Preah Vihear provincial court is taking action against three suspects for illegal forest clearing in Prey Lang and Boeung Per Wildlife Sanctuaries and death threats following a complaint from a team of park rangers and the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) on Tuesday, according to Preah Vihear provincial prosecutor spokesperson Phy Sithorng.

Sithorng told The Post on Wednesday that the three suspects were identified as Chhuon Chat, Yun Nhanh and his son Nhenh Eanh, who all live in Chey Sen district’s Thmea commune.

“The complaint was sent to provincial court on 11 December. The provincial prosecutors are taking legal action,” she said.

Boeung Per Wildlife Sanctuary head Meas Nhem said the team confiscated 355 wooden planks, totalling 7.2 cubic metres, which were hidden by the suspects in Thmea commune’s Phnheak Roloek village during the December 6 raid.

“The three suspects cursed at [us], who was trying its best to prevent forestry crimes. The three even threatened to kill all of us,” Nhem said.

He added that prior to filing a complaint, he invited the three to answer for their actions and agree not to commit further forestry crimes in all forms, as well as apologise to the team for cursing at them and threatening to kill them. However, the suspects did not show up and further intimidated the team.

“For the safety of our [team], we had to file a complaint to provincial court for intervention.”

PLCN activist Phok Hong, who took part in the raid and was one of the people who filed complaint, told The Post on Wednesday that the suspects originally come from Kampong Thom province, worked as loggers and trafficked illegal forestry products for many years.

Nuon Vannsuy, a Prey Lang-Boeung Per Wildlife Sanctuary park ranger who patrolled Prey Lang with the PLCN, said the team stored the confiscated wooden planks at Boeung Per. He added that the suspects took pictures of his team and threatened to kill them.

“Suspect Nhenh Eanh said for confiscating his wooded slabs, if he obtains a gun, he will shoot us. His father Yun Nhanh said he will smash and ruin the environmental activists,” he added.

The suspects could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

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