The National Military Police and conservation NGO Wildlife Alliance on Monday dispelled as fake news, reports that a forest ranger had been killed while patrolling the Cardamon Mountains in Pursat province’s Phnom Kravanh district.
Local media had reported that a group of seven forest rangers, along with officials from the National Military Police, Ministry of Environment and Wildlife Alliance, were patrolling the area on February 28 when forest criminals opened fire on them, killing a ranger.
Military police spokesman Eng Hy denied the report on Monday, saying that it was fake news aimed at triggering ‘social turmoil’.
“There was no shooting that caused death. Please, members of the public and journalists must be aware of this,” he said.
Phnom Kravanh district Military police commander Chan Sokha said after hearing rumours of the shooting, he led a group of officials to examine the area.
“But no such shooting or death occurred. The information was not true,” he said, adding that they are working to identify the person responsible for spreading the fake news.
Wildlife Alliance on Monday also issued a press release dismissing the report as false. “It is suspected that the rumour was started as a scare tactic to instil fear among rangers,” it said.
Wildlife Alliance CEO Suwanna Gauntlett said the spread of false information is something they do not take lightly and that people should be aware of the consequences.
“This news does not scare our rangers who are specially trained to overcome any challenges they can expect in their line of work.
“Our rangers will continue to operate as effectively as they have for almost 20 years,” she said, adding that Wildlife Alliance would continue to work with local authorities to look into how the rumour spread to the local media outlet.
Under the cooperation between the ministry and Wildlife Alliance, rangers patrol almost 1.5 million hectares of the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape, one of the last great rainforests in Southeast Asia. The rangers are also considered among the most effective teams in the region.