Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Reported run-in with loggers gives tourists a scare in Ratanakkiri



Reported run-in with loggers gives tourists a scare in Ratanakkiri

Reported run-in with loggers gives tourists a scare in Ratanakkiri

Rights group worker says officials concerned about tourism initially covered up incident in which more than 30 travellers were threatened.

POLICE in Ratanakkiri province have yet to locate a group of men who on July 12 threatened to kill more than 30 domestic tourists following a confrontation in which the tourists happened upon the men as they were loading illegally felled timber onto trailers, Soy Thav, the police chief for Ratanakkiri's Lumphat district, told the Post Sunday.

I am telling my men to cooperate with local police... so that future tourists will not be afraid to visit.

"We are now investigating the case, and we know the identity of one member of the group who is a member of the provincial police," Soy Thav said.
He added that he planned to inform the Ratanakkiri provincial police chief about the suspect in an effort to bring the man and his accomplices in
for interrogation.

The tourists were on their way to visit Katieng waterfall in Lumphat district when they encountered the group of five to six men as they were loading timber onto their trailers, said Pen Bonnar, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, who added that the men accused the tourists' guides of driving recklessly.

Later that day, the men, who were "carrying axes, stones and poles to attack [the tourists]", caught up with the group and "threatened to kill them and damage their vans", Pen Bonnar said.

He added that the threat prompted the tourists to cut their trip short and return to Phnom Penh. Local police escorted them on the return trip, he said.

Tourism concerns
Local officials said they were worried that news of the incident could harm the local tourism industry.

"This is a very big concern for the tourism site, and I have already requested that the district police deploy more officers to the commune to increase security," said Nget Vitou, deputy director of the provincial tourism department.

Though the incident occurred more than a week ago, Pen Bonnar said he believes reports of it did not surface immediately because tourism officials attempted to cover it up. He said area residents told him that the provincial tourism department "wanted to hide the incident to avoid a negative impact on the tourism industry".

On Sunday, however, Nget Vitou acknowledged that the incident could have turned violent.

"This is the first time that there has been a serious threat against tourists in that resort," he said. "I am telling my men to cooperate with local police in the search for the attackers in order maintain security and safety, so that future tourists will not be afraid to visit."

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from