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Pursat court frees two after Cardamom mountain operation

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The released suspects said they were just hired to operate tractors. Wildlife Alliance Cambodia

Pursat court frees two after Cardamom mountain operation

The Pursat Provincial Court temporarily released two suspects who were arrested for bulldozing land in the Cardamom Mountains.

Officials at the provincial Department of Environment sent the two, who were among a group of six who were arrested, to court after authorities detained them, Pursat Provincial Court spokesman Heng Donin said on Monday.

He said the investigating judge decided to release the two because they were just employed to drive tractors for someone else.

“I do not remember their names, but the prosecutor did not hold them because they confessed that they were only tractor drivers,” he said.

The six suspects were held on Friday while they were using bulldozers to clear forest land. They allegedly destroyed 10ha before authorities arrived, said Donin.

“We detained six and four confessed that they were responsible for supplying food and tractor drivers. The two released men said they did not know about this issue and asked to be released.

Police are still investigating the people behind the act. The land in the Cardamom Mountains is under the protection of a royal decree so no one is allowed to grab it for personal ownership, he said.

Roveang station rangers were recently involved in a land grabbing case, where they confiscated five excavators, a bulldozer and a trailer that were all being used illegally.

The rangers arrested six offenders as part of the case.

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