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Ratanakkiri reporter alleges illegal logging assault

Ratanakkiri reporter alleges illegal logging assault

A reporter from Cheat Sachak newspaper in Ratanakkiri province filed a complaint to provincial military police and rights group Adhoc on Monday, claiming he had been beaten by a group of illegal loggers to stop him from reporting on their activities.

Phon Bun Thoen, 53, said in his complaint that he went to cover illegal logging in Stung Treng’s Sesan district bordering Ratanakkiri province on Saturday, and on his way back he was accosted by seven men he believed to be illegal loggers.

“On the way home, seven men put down three big pieces of wood to stop my car, and then they came to fight me,” Bun Thoen said. “They threatened me and told me that I am not allowed to come to this area. They hurt my head, hand and my waist.”

After the incident, Bun Thoen filed a complaint to military police and the rights group seeking intervention.

Chhay Thy, a provincial coordinator for Adhoc said the group had received the complaint and would investigate.

Siv Samet, a chief criminal officer of Ratanakkiri military police said he also received the complaint from the reporter to open the investigation of this case.

Another journalist reporting illegal logging in Ratanakkiri, Vorakchun Khmer newspaper reporter Hang Serei Oudom, was killed nearly a year ago after writing an article linking illegal logging to a local military police commander.

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