Thirteen tractors have been impounded and seven people arrested as a result of unrelenting crackdowns on fisheries crimes in Kampong Chhnang province over the course of seven months.

The Kampong Chhnang provincial fisheries administration waged an extensive campaign to crack down on fisheries offences between November and May.

During the period, administration chief Ly La said the authorities have seized 13 tractors alleged to have been used in clearing flooded forest for illegal agricultural expansion.

The vehicles were found hidden in the forest in Kampong Leng district’s Chranouk, Dar, Svay Rompear and Samrong Sen communes, La told The Post on Thursday.

He said the impounded tractors were parked in the compounds of the district hall and police station, and that the authorities gathered the case files to be presented to the court for “further legal action”.

“We do so as nobody came forward to claim the [tractors] as theirs. Along with the evidence, we also found that 2ha of flooded forest land was cleared for illegal agricultural expansion,” he said.

Clearing flooded forest – a first-degree crime by classification – carries a prison sentence ranging from three to five years, La said.

The provincial fisheries administration said in its report that two motorised boats, one motorbike and a number of unspecified fishing gears had also been impounded during the campaign period.

The report also said 2,157kg of juvenile fish of various species had been released into a lake, and that 14,680 fishing nets and 13,407 traps were burnt down.

La lamented that fisheries crimes continued unabated across the Kingdom. He called for the participation of all relevant parties to preserve the fishery and forestry resources, and launch clampdowns on the crimes.